At 32, Alex Zanardi has enjoyed one of the most impressive three-year tenures in CART history. Since bursting on the scene as a relative unknown in 1996, Zanardi has quickly built one of the most enviable resumes in the history of the series. He became the first driver to win Rookie of the Year and two PPG Cup championships in his first three seasons. He has amassed 15victories and an amazing 27 podiumfinishes in just 50 starts.
Winning the 1998 championship in record fashion, Zanardi clinched the title faster than any driver in CART history, winning the title by the widest point margin in the history of the series. He established CART records for consecutive pole positions (6), consecutive tront-row starts (11), consecutive victories (4) and most podiumfinishes in a season (14).
A native of Bologna, Italy, Zanardi's love for racing began at the age of 14 in the competitive world of go-karting. In five years, he earned the support of the karting company that in earlier years had backed three-time Formula One world champion Ayrton Senna. By 1987, he advancedto the top go-kart class and won five European championship events.
In 1988, Zanardi moved to Formula Three, recording two F-3 poles and a pair of runnerup finishes his second year in the circuit. In 1990he won the F-3 European Cup at Le Mans and was on the pole at Monaco and a year later had moved up to Formula 3000. From 1992to 1994, he was involved in Formula One development and racing for Benetton, Minardi and Lotus. Zanardi joined Target/Chip Ganassi Racing in 1996 for the PPG Indy Car World Series.
As a favorite of the fans, his brief CART career will undoubtedly be remembered as "the Zanardi Years," featuring his signature victory "doughnuts" and the passion, personality and pizzazz he brought to the series.
Zanardi leaves CART to pursue a career in Formula One Racing, joining the Winfield Williams team on the FIA Formula One World Championship circuit beginning in the 1999 season.
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