Valentino Rossi may have retired from two-wheel racing last year, but “The Doctor” just cannot say no to the thrill and challenge of racing with a recent move to four wheels. You read that right, Rossi, the MotoGP legend, will now be driving an Audi R8 LMS with the Belgian Team WRT for the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe. The latter is the reigning champion team, and Rossi will be paired with several other Audi Sport drivers to be named later on.
The announcement was made after Rossi’s test drive at Valencia last December. A look back at Rossi’s palmares reminds us that the Italian actually started out with four wheels, racing go-karts as a child. At the height of his world championship reign, he also tested for Ferrari’s Formula One team in 2006, lapping just one second behind Michael Schumacher, as well as being faster in testing than David Coulthard and Mark Webber.
“I am delighted to join Team WRT for a full Fanatec GTWCE program. 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 program 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,” says Rossi.
Stéphane Ratel, SRO Motorsports Group founder and CEO also said “I am delighted to welcome Valentino Rossi to the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe grid for 2022.
Having followed his illustrious career in motorcycle racing for more than two decades, it is truly exciting to witness the start of this new chapter in GT machinery. To attract a competitor of Valentino’s stature is a tremendous vote of confidence for our championship and for GT racing in general.
He will bring new energy to our paddock and I look forward to watching him on-track this season.”