For the 2023 season, the BMW M works driver squad will have a well-known 21st member. Beyond the race appearances with BMW M Team WRT that were announced last week, BMW M Motorsport and Valentino Rossi (ITA) have agreed to a works commitment. The nine-time motorcycle world champion, who ended his illustrious two-wheeled career in the fall of 2021, will compete in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the Bathurst 12 Hour in the BMW M4 GT3 in 2022, as well as making himself available for additional race and test appearances in BMW M Motorsport racing cars.
“Valentino Rossi needs no introduction. As one of the most successful motorcycle riders of all time, he has made history. His successes on the racetrack and his personality have quite rightly made him a living legend,” said Andreas Roos, Head of BMW M Motorsport. “But Valentino has proved that he is also an excellent racer on four wheels. He has shown that car racing has become his second motorsport home, and he brings all his passion, skills and commitment to this new chapter of his career. It’s fantastic that Valentino will be joining our BMW M Motorsport family as a new works driver next year. We’re really looking forward to working together – welcome aboard Vale!”
"I am very proud to become an official BMW M works driver and it is a great opportunity,” said Rossi. “Last year I started racing seriously in cars and I finished my first season with the WRT team with whom I got on very well and I am very happy that the WRT team chose BMW M Motorsport as a new partner. I have already had a chance to test the BMW M4 GT3 twice and the feeling with the car is very good. I think we could be competitive next season. Also, BMW M Motorsport has given me the opportunity to race with two very strong drivers next year, Maxime Martin and Augusto Farfus. I still have a lot to learn and improve, but I hope to be up to the task and fast enough to fight during the race weekends.”
In 1997, Rossi won the 125cc category of the MotoGP World Championship. In the subsequent two years, he won the 250cc category. In 2000, he moved up to the 500cc class, the highest Grand Prix category at the time, and won the title of world champion the following year, in 2001. The MotoGP replaced this series the following year, and Rossi continued to set the standard. He had already won four more world titles by 2005, and he won two more in 2008 and 2009 to bring his total to nine. After that, Rossi never stopped competing for the title of world champion. The VR46 Rider Academy, which "The Doctor" founded, is a "school" for promising young Italian riders with the ultimate goal of breaking into MotoGP.
During his early career, Rossi also tested Formula 1 Ferraris and Mercedes. In addition to the 2006 New Zealand Rally and the 2009 Wales Rally, there were also starts at the Monza rally (ITA) in the World Rally Championship. Rossi took part in an endurance competition in Abu Dhabi in 2019. (UAE). Rossi began his new chapter in car racing after he officially retired from motorcycle racing at the end of the 2021 season. During the 2022 season, he raced for Team WRT in the GT World Challenge Europe.
Together with fellow BMW M works drivers Maxime Martin (BEL) and Augusto Farfus (BRA), he will be racing in that series next year, as well as the endurance classic at Bathurst (AUS) (BRA). With his job as a company driver, he has many other opportunities open to him. Rossi will be able to make additional race and test appearances in various BMW M Motorsport racing cars, in addition to his current committed events. The BMW M Motorsport team will give the 43-year-old a chance to represent them as well. The specifics will be released at a later time.