Valentino Rossi is not just a legend of the Motorcycle World Championship. The racer nicknamed Doctor and a total of nine championship titles in the past has shown that, in addition to the handlebars, he also controls the steering wheel very well – in special rallies, in circuit drivers and in F1 singles. -seat. And now, even though he can afford to retire from a top athlete’s perspective, he says he doesn’t plan to do so in the slightest.
The reason for signing with the BMW factory team is actually quite simple – after officially ending his career in the World Motorcycle Championship in 2021, he is racing in the GT World Challenge series under the W Racing Team (WRT) stick.
Rossi is competing here in a special Audi R8 LMS, and with the Belgian WRT team switching from Audi to BMW for the 2023 season, Rossi will swap his work kit, becoming the de facto working driver for the Bavarian automaker.
“I am very proud to be a factory BMW Motorsport driver, this is a great opportunity for me,” said the Italian racer after the official announcement. “After retiring in 2021, I am taking up auto racing as a member of the WRT team and I am very pleased that they have chosen BMW Motorsport as their new partner.”
Valentino Rossi’s team-mates are Belgian racer Maxime Martin and Brazilian bullfighter Augusto Farfus. However, the German manufacturer added that Rossi will have the chance to test and possibly even race in many of Munich’s other special races.
However, for Rossi, it could be even more exciting – shortly after the end of the partnership, BMW entrusted the Belgian racing team with the endurance program of the World Endurance Championship, which also includes Le Mans.
Here, one cannot escape the question behind the golden maze: Will Rossi sit in the BMW M Hybrid V8’s endurance-only cockpit? It’s hard to say, let’s be surprised – BMW should enter the WEC series as early as 2024.
But what is certain, the Doctor and his team have appreciated this collaboration. “I had the opportunity to test drive a new car twice and the first impression was very good,” the legendary racer made no secret of his optimism. “I think we can be very competitive next season.”
“Valentino Rossi is the type of rider who doesn’t need teaching,” said BMW M team new member Andreas Roos, who is head of the Bavarian factory team. “His success on the race track, combined with his unquestionable personality and character, has made him a living legend – but he has also proven to be an excellent competitor on four wheels, so we are looking forward to working with him. Welcome Val!”
Official testing is scheduled for March 7 and 8 in France, the season starts on April 22 in Monza, Italy. However, Rossi was already familiar with his new mobile office.
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