Valentino Rossi to race in full GT Challenge Europe 2022 season
MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi has joined forces Team WRT for this year's GT Challenge World Europe campaign
Valentino Rossi has committed to a full season of the GT Challenge Europe series for 2022, racing with Team WRT Audi squad.
The nine-time MotoGP champion will drive the No46 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II at every round of the Sprint and Endurance schedule this year and make his debut in the 24 Hours of Spa race in July.
After signing off his legendary motorcycle racing career in MotoGP last season, Rossi had made clear his motor sport career wasn’t done just yet, and that he’d be eager to race on four wheels in the future.
He tested with Team WRT in December 2021 and has now finalised a full 10-round campaign with the team. Team WRT is the most successful outfit in the series’ history, securing 28 drivers’ and team titles overall since the 2011 season.
Rossi will get his first test of the season in the car later this year at Paul Ricard in March ahead of the season opener for the Endurance championship at Imola in April.
“I am delighted to join Team WRT for a full Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe,” 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 in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS with them.”
Rossi’s attentions have been on GT racing for some time. Last year he competed in the Gulf 12 Hours and along with team-mates Luca Marini and Alessio Salucci, the trio took their Ferrari 488 GT3 to a third-place finish in the Pro-Am class.
He was set to make an appearance in the endurance event until a positive Covid test result ruled him out of this year’s race.
“I am sure that a lot of fans will be as pleased as we are that Rossi is starting a new career on four wheels and that he is doing it in GT, with Team WRT and Audi,” Team WRT boss Vincent Vosse said of the Rossi announcement.
“We all know what a great motorbike champion and sports figure Vale is, but most of all, he is a true racer and a very professional and competitive sportsman, eager to be as successful as possible in the new challenge he has decided to embrace.
“We warmly welcome Vale in the WRT family and I am sure that we are off to a very exciting experience for both.”
SRO Group founder and CEO Stephane Ratel added that it was an exciting era for the series.
“I am delighted to welcome Valentino Rossi to the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS grid for 2022,” Ratel stated.
“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.”
Round one of the Endurance season begins on April 1-3 at Imola while the Sprint campaign commences at Brands Hatch on April 30/May 1.