German car manufacturer BMW has named double Paralympic champion Alex Zanardi as its new brand ambassador.
As a BMW brand ambassador, Zanardi will be responsible for representing the company at various charity events, races, and functions.
The Italian has a close connection with BMW, with the company giving him the opportunity to drive the BMW Sauber Formula One race car on Valencia's "Circuit de la Comunitat" just five years after a tragic accident looked to have ended his racing dreams.
"We are delighted to welcome Alessandro as a brand ambassador into our BMW family", said Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Sales and Marketing BMW.
"For his fans all around the globe he is far more than a superb racing driver.
"With his fighting spirit and his positive attitude, Alessandro is a true role model.
"He has shown that it is possible to overcome all adversities and barriers.
"He is a real champion on and off the race track and therefore a perfect international ambassador for our brand."
An ex-Formula One driver and double Champ Car champion, Zanardi had a fruitful career in sports racing during the Nineties.
Following a crash at EuroSpeedway Lausitz in 2001 during his second stint as a CART racer, the Italian had both legs amputated putting an end to his open-wheel racing career.
Despite the accident, Zanardi was determined to return to the racing circuit and, in 2004, was back racing full-time, driving for Robert Ravaglia's BMW Team Italy-Spain in the European Touring Car Championships.
After the expansion to a World Touring Car Championships the following year, Zanardi continued his come-back, winning four races during a career spanning from 2005 to 2009, racing more than 100 times during this period.
As well as making a return to the racetrack, Zenardi also made headways as a Para-cyclist after his accident and was successful in qualifying for the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
At these Games, Zanardi secured gold in both the men's H4 road time trial and H4 road race, while also helping Italy to silver in the mixed team relay H1-4 classification.
Following his announcement as a BMW brand ambassador, Zanardi said: "I am very proud to become a BMW brand ambassador."
He added: "BMW is like a second family, and over the past years we not only enjoyed great times together at the track, but we have also become close friends.
"To return to racing as a BMW works driver this season is already great - and the fact that I will now represent this iconic company as an ambassador is just fantastic.
"The trust the BMW family puts in me means a lot to me.
"I am very much looking forward to representing this fantastic BMW brand all over the world from now on."
Now 47, the Italian returned to the auto-racing scene this year, driving a specially modified BMW Z4 in the Blancpain GT Sprint Series.
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May 2014: Zanardi shines on home roads on Italian leg of Para-cycling World Cup
February 2014: Zanardi to make motor racing return on track where won two Paralympic golds
August 2013: Zanardi takes gold as Italy dominate handcycling at World Championships
August 2013: "I'm getting better with age" claims Zanardi as he notches up another World Cup win
March 2013: Zanardi to be inducted into Motorsports Hall of Fame