MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi is back at Valencia already ahead of GT switch

MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi doesn't hang up his helmet for too long as he is back in Valencia testing an Audi R8 ahead of likely GT World Challenge move

Valentino Rossi drives an Audi R8 LMS [credit: Auto Hebdo]

Valentino Rossi’s hopes of giving himself some well earned respite in the wake of his retirement from MotoGP has been put on ice for the moment as he returned to Valencia to embark on the first stages of his burgeoning four-wheel racing career.

‘The Doctor’ was only at the Spanish venue three weeks ago to bring the curtain down on a stellar motorcycle racing career that yielded nine Grand Prix world titles, including seven premier class MotoGP/500GP crowns on Honda and Yamaha machinery.

Though it is known Rossi will race in the sportscars discipline from next year, he has remained fairly coy as to where exactly he plans to compete. 

However, it appears plans have since moved ahead after Rossi appeared driving an Audi R8 LMS - emblazoned with his synonymous ‘46’ logo on the side - prepared by the Belgian Team WRT, with these images captured by French publication Auto Hebdo.

For now WRT - which has long had a close association with Ducati parent company Audi - says the test isn’t the result of a deal being signed, but said it is evaluating agreeing terms with Rossi for a 2022 season spent in the GT World Challenge Europe.

If Rossi is heading towards the GT World Challenge Europe, he would do well in signing with Team WRT, which is one of the leading outfits in sportscar racing, winning the GT World Challenge (nee Blancpain Championship) in four of the past six seasons.

Moreover, it would also align nicely with Rossi’s desire to compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours, with Team WRT having on its debut attempt at the 2021 edition in the prototype LMP2 class.

Winning with Robin Frijns, Ferdinand Habsburg and Charles Milesi, the team was on course for a 1-2, only for the leading car of Louis Deletraz, Robert Kubica and Yifei Ye to break down on the very final lap of the race.

Rossi’s move into sportscars won’t be entirely new to him since he is a regular in the off-season Dubai 24 Hours race driving a Kessel Racing Ferrari. However, this will be his first full professional campaign in anything other than motorcycle racing.

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