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Valentino Rossi on four wheels

The Repco Bathurst 12 Hour is building after the announcement late last week of MotoGP ace turned GT racer Valentino Rossi making a return to the Mountain with BMW and Team WRT.

Since retiring from motorcycle racing Rossi has linked up with first Audi, then BMW to enter primarily the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS series and will make the step up this season to the FIA World Endurance Championship, which includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans as one of its rounds.

However, just like Wayne Gardner, Kevin Schwantz, John Surtees and many others, Rossi has dabbled on four wheels for years and not only on the tarmac.

A winner of nine premier class motorcycle titles including 89 victories to hold the record, Rossi first dabbled on the gravel under the tutelage of rallying great Colin McRae. Making his World Rally Championship debut in the 2002 in Great Britain, but Rossi retired on the second stage driving a Peugeot.

Returning to the WRC stage in 2006 this time driving a Subaru on the fast, flowing Rally New Zealand where he finished 11th outright.

Rossi is also a regular of the Monza Rally, which he has won seven times against some of the leading rallying and Italian driving talent.

Another entry came in 2008 at Rally GB where he finished 11th piloting a Ford Focus, but prior to this there was speculation regarding his riding future following an impressive test for Ferrari in its Formula 1 entry, but this failed to come to fruition.

Later, in 2019 Rossi completed a swap with Lewis Hamilton and drove the Mercedes-AMG F1 W08 EQ Power+ in a private event.

Turning his four-wheel focus to GT racing during the 2010s has led Rossi into his post-riding career as he contested selected Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS rounds and a couple of Gulf 12 Hour campaigns.

Retiring from MotoGP in 2021, Rossi linked up with then leading Audi squad Team WRT and last year won his first race outright at Misano after a switch to BMW.

Last year Rossi finished sixth in the Repco Bathurst 12 Hour as fans flocked to meet ‘The Doctor’ and he returns to the Mountain with victory in his sights.