Want to see how multi-denomination racing champion Alex Zanardi pilots the BMW M8 GTE? By now, you’ve heard about Zanardi’s return to Daytona driving the #24 BMW M8 GTE, but for those curious how his hand control setup from DTM transfers to the BMW M8 GTE, check out this narrated lap from Zanardi around Daytona International Speedway.
While speculation has been far-reaching, the video from BMW Motorsport makes it particularly clear how exactly the hand controls work; on the back of the steering wheel, an oblong carbon-fiber ring (complete with formidable metal linkage) acts as the throttle, with a single upshift paddle in the usual right-hand-side location.
The brake, like most conventional street hand controls, is a physical lever attached to its own master cylinder and welded onto a metal reinforcement on the M8 GTE’s console. At its peak, by the hand grip, is a downshift paddle actuated by Zanardi’s fingertips. The lever appears graceful in its design, with the result being both strong and incredibly lightweight.
For driver changes, the M8 GTE’s steering wheel is actually removed, while Zanardi’s driving partners use conventional wheels with a spacer to accommodate the altered steering column; the brake remains in place. It’s a flexible setup that allows for a seamless transition and complete functionality for all drivers.
We look forward to seeing BMW Team RLL’s performance at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, January 26-27, 2019. —David Rose