ROSSI X GT
MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi will race in GTWCE in 2022
My heart sank when I found out that one of my sporting heroes was finally hanging up his leathers. Although Valentino Rossi hasn’t been competitive over the last few seasons, he has remained a massive draw for MotoGP.
There were rumours of a move to F1 with Ferrari years ago. But, their loss is our gain. Rossi has always dabbled in motorsport. He’s driven in rallies and had the odd outing in GT3s with his best mate behind the wheel of a Kessel Ferrari or two. So when I heard that the venerable Italian had been testing with Team WRT in one of their Audi R8s, I crossed everything and hoped and prayed that a decision about his future in sportscars was about to materialise.
Team WRT announced that Valentino Rossi would join its driver line-up in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe, Powered by AWS, for the 2022 season.
A 9-time motorcycle World Champion and one of the world’s sports icons, the 42-year-old Italian will start his professional career on four wheels with the Belgian squad, the reigning champion team in the Fanatec GTWCE Powered by AWS (overall, Endurance and Sprint).
Valentino Rossi will compete in the Endurance and the Sprint Cups, driving an Audi R8 LMS sporting the #46. He will be paired with Audi Sport drivers to be named soon.
The announcement follows the test conducted by Valentino Rossi with Team WRT at Valencia last December.
Rossi had this to say following the announcement,
“I am delighted to join Team WRT for a full Fanatec GTWCE powered by AWS programme. Everybody knows that I have always been a great car racing fan and that I have always been interested in a 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 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 GTWCE with them.”
Team boss, Vincent Vosse, added,
“I am sure that a lot of fans will be as pleased as we are that Vale is starting a new career on four wheels and that he is doing it in GT, with Team WRT and Audi. We all know what a great motorbike champion and sports figure Vale is, but most of all, he is a true racer and a very professional and competitive sportsman, eager to be as successful as possible in the new challenge he has decided to embrace. This is exactly why we really wanted to work with him. The test we made at Valencia was extremely positive for both parties, in terms of technical feedback and working approach, and we took things from there. We warmly welcome Vale in the WRT family and I am sure that we are off to a very exciting experience for both.”
Team WRT will run Rossi in the 2022 Audi R8 LMS EVO II. The ultra-competitive GT3 car has undergone its second evolution, ready for the upcoming season. By all accounts, the V10 powered supercar is among the easiest to drive, so Valentino should be able to get the best out of the car quickly.
In May, I will be making the short drive to Brands Hatch to witness ‘The Doctor’ tackling the sprint cup at the storied Kent circuit. Forza Vale!