By Duncan Mackay

Alex Zanardi next to BMWDecember 28 - Alex Zanardi is to concentrate on handbiking in 2013 after giving up the opportunity to race touring cars full-time in Germany. 

The Italian, who won two gold medals and a silver at London 2012, has scrapped plans to return to the German Touring Car Masters (DTM) series next season.

The two-time Paralympics champion Zanardi underwent tests last month in a specially designed BMW but said a full-time engagement was too much for him.

"We did have a conversation about taking it seriously further on but I decided it would be a little bit too much for me to be involved full-time for the whole season next year," said Zanardi.

"It would mean I wouldn't have time for things I'd enjoy - like cycling and fishing with my son - so I decided to wait for the next train."

The 2013 DTM season is due to run early May until late October with 11 races in six countries.

The former Formula One driver Zanardi lost both legs in a crash during a race at the Lausitzring course in Germany in 2001.

Alex Zanardi with BMWBMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt (left) has failed to persuade Alex Zanardi to drive in the German Touring Car Masters series next year

He was back to compete in touring car races for BMW between 2004 and 2009.

After winning the individual H4 time trial and the individual H4 road race, along with a silver medal in the mixed H1-4 team relay, at London 2012 Zanardi is now setting his sights on defending his titles at Rio 2016.

"I still think I can be competitive at 49 in Rio in four years time," he said.

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December 2012:
 Tom Degun - Why Alex Zanardi should be the 2012 BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year
November 2012: Zanardi says it would be "exciting" to try to compete at Rio 2016
October 2012: Zanardi crowned IPC male athlete of the month
September 2012: "I have enough talent to return to motor racing," claims Zanardi
September 2012: Zanardi could be set for return to motor racing