Valentino Rossi Will Return To Racing, With Two More Wheels

The seven-time MotoGP world champion will campaign a full season in the GT World Challenge Europe series with Audi.

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Valentino Rossi waves goodbye at his final press conference as a MotoGP rider.
Valentino Rossi waves goodbye at his final press conference as a MotoGP rider.
Photo: Jose Jordan/AFP (Getty Images)

Now some feel good news to round out the week. MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi has confirmed he’ll be racing for Team WRT Audi in the coming GT World Challenge Europe series. As it happens, the 2022 season kicks off with one of two home races for The Doctor, at Imola, on the weekend of April 1.

Rossi had tested the Audi R8 LMS at Valencia in December and also teased a move to four wheels while his motorcycle career was ending, so none of this comes as a surprise — though it is nevertheless good to see. Rossi is a character the racing world shouldn’t lose. Here’s the statement he gave upon the announcement:

I am delighted to join Team WRT for a full Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS programme. Everybody knows that I have always been a great car racing fan and that I have always been interested in racing on four wheels once my MotoGP career would come to an end. Now I am completely available to devote myself to a car racing programme at a high level and with the right professional approach. Team WRT is the perfect fit I was looking for and I am anxious to start this new adventure in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS with them.

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The 42-year-old is also attaching himself to a top outfit, as W Racing Team has won 28 teams’ and drivers’ titles in the GT World Challenge series over the previous decade, encompassing both endurance and sprint categories as well as multiple driver classes. Rossi will contest all 10 rounds this coming year, including the 24 Hours of Spa, which will mark his longest race yet.

This won’t be Rossi’s first foray into GT racing, as he contested rounds at Monza and Nürburgring back in 2012 in the Pro-Am category, as part of an all-Italian trio run by Kessel Racing. If you’re unfamiliar with the GT World Challenge name, you may remember it by its old sponsor, Blancpain.

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In those two races, Rossi raced a car with his signature #46 on the side. He’ll be doing the same throughout 2022.