(Reuters) – Seven-times MotoGP motorcycle world champion Valentino Rossi said he will return to the track to compete in car racing in the GT World Challenge Europe, joining Belgian outfit WRT.
Rossi, who called time on an illustrious motorcycling career spanning more than two decades in 2021, had previously spoken of a desire to move into car racing, and underwent a test with WRT in Valencia in December.
The 42-year-old will drive an Audi R8 LMS in the endurance and sprint categories, and will sport the number 46, the same number he raced with in MotoGP.
“I am delighted to join Team WRT,” Rossi said in a statement. “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 GTWCE with them.”
The 2022 GT World Challenge Europe season begins in Imola, Spain on April 1.
(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin)