Valentino Rossi will also be active as a driver next season in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, the championship where he made his racing debut in 2022. However, the 43-year-old Italian is moving from ‘Audi to BMW, as was officially announced a week ago. However, the German car and motorcycle manufacturer has now announced that Rossi will join the select group of BMW-M factory riders.
The BMW M factory driver line-up for the 2023 season will include a prominent member: Valentino Rossi and BMW M Motorsport have agreed a factory commitment that goes beyond the recently announced contract with the Belgian BMW M Team WRT. The nine-time world champion, who ended his long and successful career on two wheels in the fall of 2021, will compete next year in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the “Bathurst 12 Hour” in the BMW M4 GT3, but also available for other racing and test duties in BMW M Motorsport racing cars.
Andreas Roos, Director of BMW M Motorsport: “Valentino Rossi really needs no introduction. He has gone down in history as one of the most successful motorcycle riders of all time. His successes on the track and his personality have rightly made him a living legend. But Valentino has proven that he is also an excellent racer on four wheels. He has shown that motorsport has become his second home and brings all his passion, skills and commitment to this new chapter of his career. “It’s fantastic that Valentino is joining our BMW M Motorsport family as our new works driver next year. We look forward to working together – welcome aboard, Vale!”
Valentino Rossi: “I’m proud to become an official BMW M works rider. It’s a great opportunity for me. Last year I started racing seriously and finished my first season with the WRT team, with which I had a very good relationship from the start. Now I am happy that WRT has chosen BMW M Motorsport as a new partner. I have already been able to test the BMW M4 GT3 twice and I have a very good feeling. I I think we can be competitive next year. BMW M Motorsport also gives me the chance to work with two very strong drivers, Maxime Martin and Augusto Farfus. I still have a lot to learn and I can continue to improve. J hope to be up to the challenge and fast enough during the race weekends.
Rossi has driven several racing cars during his motorsport career, including a Formula 1 Ferrari and a Mercedes. In addition, there were, for example, starts in the Monza Rally (ITA) and in two rounds of the World Rally Championship, in New Zealand in 2006 and in Wales in 2009. In 2019, Rossi took part in an Endurance race in Abu Dhabi (UAE). After ending his active motorcycle career at the end of 2021, Rossi has made the move to motorsport for good. In the 2022 season, he has already competed with the WRT team in the GT World Challenge Europe, a competition where he will start next season, but then in a BMW M4 GT3.
With his new status as an official BMW works driver, Rossi will be able to fulfill further racing and testing obligations in several BMW M Motorsport racing cars in addition to his existing commitments. The 43-year-old can also act as a representative of BMW M Motorsport. Details will be announced later.
It is not yet known if and what consequences this new status may have for Valentino Rossi’s MotoGP team, the Mooney VR46 Racing Team. Since his team is currently on the road with Ducati hardware and it’s part of Audi, there may be conflicting interests. Or, how, what, where… the future will tell.
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