On Sunday the 5th of November, just after the 2023 World Endurance Championship season finishes with the 8 Hours of Bahrain, motorcycling legend Valentino Rossi will take to the track in a Team WRT ORECA-Gibson 07. He’s eyeing up a spot in future championship races.
The LMP2 trial is a warm-up for Rossi’s intended drive in the BMW M Hybrid V8 LMDh before this year is out, as part of his duties as a works driver for BMW. Since hanging up his MotoGP leathers in 2021, Rossi has turned his full attention to racing cars, with the dream of taking part in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
“I’m very happy to be trying the LMP2 for the first time!” said Rossi, speaking to journalists in Bahrain.
“It’s a great opportunity from Team WRT, because we have plans for me to test the BMW Hypercar in the future.
“So, before testing that, I think it’s good experience to try the LMP2 as it’s similar in terms of downforce and I’m curious to understand my potential.
“I’m also looking forward to being in Bahrain to watch the final race of the season, and as I’m hoping to race in the WEC in the future, it will be good to understand the atmosphere and the structure of the event.”
Last year, Rossi drove an Audi R8 LMS GT3 with WRT, but this year he’s with BMW as a works driver, focusing on the GT World Challenge Europe. His win in the Road to Le Mans race in June seemed to be part of his build-up to take on the full 24-hour Le Mans race in 2024.
The test on Sunday is another step in getting Rossi ready for a possible full season in the WEC, which could start in 2024.
WRT, Rossi’s current GT team, will lead BMW’s factory team when they return to the WEC Hypercar class next year.
Also, WRT is reportedly planning to enter two BMW M4 GT3 cars in the new LMGT3 category in 2024.
Charles Weerts, now with BMW after a long stint with Audi, will also have a go in WRT’s Oreca P2 car at the Bahrain tests this Sunday.