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Where could Valentino Rossi race post-MotoGP in 2022?

All good things must come to an end... but for Valentino Rossi that only has to apply to two wheels. We evaluate where he could race on four wheels in 2022.

Valentino Rossi


After months - née years - of rumours, speculation, opinions and conjecture, two weeks’ ago Valentino Rossi formally confirmed that this will indeed herald his very final season competing in the MotoGP World Championship.

The Italian said it is his plan to retire from motorcycle racing when he (hopefully) takes the chequered flag in Valencia… but while the event will mark the final time he hangs up his leathers, he won’t be taking off his racing helmet for the final time.

Indeed, Rossi - who yesterday announced he will also become a father for the first time - made it clear his motorsport career isn’t over as yet with a plan to make the switch to four wheels for 2022.

So where are we likely to see the hallowed yellow ‘46’ appear if it’s not going to be on the front of a motorcycle?

Where will Valentino Rossi race in 2022?

DTM

Right now the smart money concerning Rossi’s future appears to be a stint in the pan-European Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters - better known as DTM. The series was formerly famed for its association with the big German three of BMW, Mercedes and Audi but their withdrawal means the series has reverted to the a GT3 specification, which Rossi has experience competing in.

However, with the championship certainly lacking the gravitas that once upon a time had more than 100,000 spectators per event during its heyday, the lure of Rossi could be the huge boost it is arguably craving right now. 

Of the options here, it is the series most likely to go above and beyond to secure his services.

Le Mans 24 Hours / World Endurance Championship

Arguably the most exciting option here would be if Rossi turns his attention to the World Endurance Championship and by extension the Le Mans 24 Hours.

If you follow Le Mans - which is taking place this weekend - then you will know the series is in the midst of a major regulatory shift with the introduction of Hypercars (Hybrid and non-Hybrid), one that while not necessarily headline grabbing at the moment, promises to change that in the next couple of years.

The most intriguing news is Ferrari will enter the premier class from 2023 with a Hypercar effort, with many scrambling to connect Rossi to the team given the associations dating back to the early 2000s when he tested its F1 car. However, the manufacturer has played this down, rather bluntly suggesting Rossi is too old. 

Nonetheless, given Rossi’s GT experience and superstar draw, the Italian could be shoo-in for a factory-backed outing in that class next year for the first time, with possibly a Hypercar role the following year. If it won’t be Ferrari, then Peugeot is also entering...

V8 Supercars

Not so likely given it would probably involve a relocation (or a lot of long haul travelling), nevertheless Rossi might be tempted by the prospect of getting one over on Casey Stoner, who couldn’t make a success of competing in the popular Aussie touring car series.

That said, Rossi seems a natural target for Ford or Holden to take part in its blue riband multi-driver Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000 events, echoing the likes of Wayne Gardner and Mick Doohan.

World Rally Championship

Rossi is a dab hand behind the wheel of a WRC car, as demonstrated by some solid outings back in 2006 and 2007 which compare very favourably to other high-profile stars trying their hand at lose-surface competition, such as F1 drivers Robert Kubica and Kimi Raikkonen.

However, success in WRC takes years to master, with speed and consistency on some exceptionally challenging stages essential to stand a chance of scoring well on an event, let alone mount a title challenge. Alas, time isn’t quite on Rossi’s side.

World RX Championship

As such, Rossi might find himself more at home in the World RX Championship, which majors on short, sharp and fast races on a challenging array of surfaces.

The events bear relatively close resemblance to the Monza Rally, an event Rossi has competed in on numerous occasions and won. Moreover, the series favours guest outings alongside the permanent entry list, while he would be a big draw for big event sponsors Monster, as well as organisers currently trying to promote its impending shift to electric competition.

Will Valentino Rossi consider any motorcycle races?

As it stands, Rossi seems determined to call time on his motorcycle career at the end of the 2021 season… but never say never.

While a return to MotoGP seems unlikely - unless a rider in his own VR46 Racing team gets injured - it’s plausible to think Yamaha would float the idea of him jumping on an R1 for the Suzuka 8 Hours, an event he of course won back in 2001.

Continuing along that theme, there have been calls to get Rossi to try his hand at WorldSBK and while it’s probably long odds to get him on one for a full season, who is to say he won’t give it a crack on an R1 at Misano?

Watch this space!

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