The association between BMW and WRT could make many happy. Among them is a man named Valentino Rossi. The ex-MotoGP driver, converted into motorsport, found his happiness this year in Grand Touring, with WRT. Engaged in the GT World Challenge Europe, he notably participated in the 24 Hours of Spa on Sunday (finishing 17th) with the Belgian team.
The Italian could see his activity develop in the coming months. If the nine-time motorcycle world champion has reaffirmed his desire to continue in motorsport, the question now is: where?
The GT World, a safe haven for Rossi
It should first be noted that Valentino Rossi is engaged with the WRT team, and not with Audi. This leaves “The Doctor” in an ideal situation for the next few months with the Belgian team. And it’s almost a certainty: Valentino Rossi should continue in the GT World Challenge Europe. “It is not decided yet but there is a good chance that I will continue my involvement in this championship” said the MotoGP legend just before the 24 Hours of Spa.
On the other hand, Team WRT has not yet confirmed its presence in GT via the various series badged SRO with the recent BMW M4 GT3. However, it is in this category that the French-speaking team has won most of its awards over the past ten years. ” We have not yet considered possible appearances for Team WRT in GT racing, says Andreas Roos, Director of BMW M Motorsport, about it. Over the next few months, we will make a decision on our racing program for the BMW M4 GT3 for the 2023 season in close cooperation with all of our BMW M Motorsport teams. »
It is nevertheless difficult to see this team leaving the championship which shaped it and this alliance with BMW seems to come at the right time to continue in GT3.
READ ALSO> Valentino Rossi: “There is a great chance that I will compete in the same championship in 2023”
IMSA, and why not?
This is where we get into the hypothetical scenarios. If Valentino Rossi has made his mark in the GT categories, the native of Urbino has never hidden his desire to make prototypes. And that’s good, since BMW will be present in IMSA from 2023. Admittedly, it will not be with the WRT team but with the RLL team. The Bavarian brand has still not announced its drivers for the American championship. Only a list of 19 names was unveiled by the German firm at the beginning of the year (also selected to develop the LMDh program), but it would not be impossible for other external drivers to join this list. Questioned by us on the occasion of the first deployment of the LMDh in Italy, the Bavarian staff did not wish to make any comment on the future pilots in competition.
READ ALSO > BMW M Motorsport announces 19 drivers for 2022
Moreover, the partnership with WRT could enlarge this list. Enough to leave room for Valentino Rossi, who had declared his interest in IMSA and the 24 Hours of Daytona at the end of his MotoGP career. “Car racing has always been my second passion in my life (…) there is a very interesting championship in the United States called IMSA, including the 24 Hours of Daytona. It’s not my last race in America. On the other hand, it’s my last here on a motorcycle, but I hope to come back by car.” Rossi had then indicated in November 2021.
— #IMSA (@IMSA) November 29, 2021
READ ALSO > Valentino Rossi open to participation in the 24 Hours of Daytona and in IMSA
Rossi at Le Mans, soon a reality?
Now that we know that WRT will use the BMW M Hybrid V8s in the WEC, the question arises: could Valentino Rossi make his debut at the Sarthe event? The main interested party has in any case already made known his desire to participate in the double round of the clock at Le Mans. “For me, Le Mans is the most famous race of all. I have already ridden there in MotoGP, the circuit is good but you don’t feel the weight of history that surrounds the 24 Hours. I’m with WRT currently so why not do it with them. I hope to continue in this team and we will see what happens in the future.” said the Italian during the GT World round at Magny-Cours in May.
Today, WRT is guaranteed to do the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2024 in the premier category, in Hypercar. The unknown remains the number of cars entered by the Belgian team. But with the stature and reputation of such a driver, it’s hard to think that “The Doctor” is not in the plans of the French-speaking team. Especially since he conquered the Belgian clan in his first season with them. “He will probably do Le Mans at some point, told us Vincent Vosse on the sidelines of the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in May. He wants to do everything and I try to frame him to achieve all this in good conditions. »
With the confidence of a team as prolific as WRT and an LMDh program guaranteed for the latter in 2024, these conditions now seem to be in place to one day see the Italian legend at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
READ ALSO > Valentino Rossi: “Why not do Le Mans with Team WRT”