MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi announces where he will race in 2022

Valentino Rossi confirms he will drive an Audi R8 for Team WRT in the GT World Challenge Europe series for his first season since transitioning from MotoGP

Valentino Rossi

MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi has confirmed he will compete in the sportscars based GT World Challenge Europe series with Belgian outfit Team WRT this season, his first since retiring from MotoGP.

The Italian, a seven-time 500/MotoGP World Champion, has long been linked with a move into sportscar racing following the conclusion of his motorcycle racing career but only now have his plans been formalised.

As anticipated, he will join leading outfit Team WRT and drive an Audi R8 in both the Endurance Cup and Sprint Cup championships that run within the GT World Challenge Europe (formerly FIA GT) series.

As per the regulations, Rossi will share the Audi with another driver across a ten-round calendar that comprises five Sprint races contested over one hour, plus five Endurance rounds. Four of these Endurance races will be contested over three hours while the blue riband event is the 24 Hours of Spa held at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

The Sprint and Endurance races have their own separate championships to fight for, though the results together count towards the overall GT World Challenge Europe title too.

“I am delighted to join Team WRT for a full Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS programme," Rossi said.

"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 programme at a 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 with them.”

Will Valentino Rossi race in the Le Mans 24 Hours?

In Team WRT, Rossi could not have selected a more impressive sportscar outfit with which to make his much vaunted full-time transition into four-wheel racing.

The Audi-affiliated team has largely dominated the competitive GT3 ranks for some years now, winning the GT series in eight of the last nine seasons.

Excitingly for Rossi, this could potentially open the door towards his much desired debut in the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance classic. Though GT3 cars aren’t eligible to race in Le Mans, a number of outfits also run prototype sportscar programmes in the World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series.

Last year saw Team WRT follow this trend with an entry into the LMP2 class of the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours, going on to win on its debut with the driving combination of Robin Frijns, Ferdinand Habsburg and Charles Milesi en route to sixth overall.

For 2022, Team WRT are expanding to a full-season in WEC but the high-profile of having a driver like Rossi on its books could be too much of a temptation to resist when it comes to deciding its 202 Le Mans 24 Hours line-up.