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WEC Bahrain

MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi to test WRT's LMP2 car in Bahrain

Seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi will sample an LMP2 car for the first time in this Sunday’s World Endurance Championship rookie test in Bahrain.

#46 Team WRT, BMW M4 GT3: Valentino Rossi

Rossi will drive an ORECA-Gibson 07 operated by WRT on 5 November, a day after the conclusion of the 2023 WEC season with the 8 Hours of Bahrain, with the aim of competing in the championship in the future.

The LMP2 test will serve as a precursor to the Italian’s planned run in the BMW M Hybrid V8 LMDh car before the end of the year as part of his factory driver role with the German manufacturer.

“I’m very happy to be trying the LMP2 for the first time!” said Rossi, who will turn 45 in February next year.

“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.”

Since retiring from MotoGP at the end of the 2021 season, Rossi has made a full-time switch to car racing with the ultimate goal of competing at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

After a one-year stint in Audi GT3 machinery last year also with WRT, he joined the BMW ranks this year as a factory driver to primarily compete in GT World Challenge Europe.

#31 Team WRT Oreca 07 - Gibson: Sean Gelael, Ferdinand Habsburg-Lothringen, Robin Frijns

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

#31 Team WRT Oreca 07 - Gibson: Sean Gelael, Ferdinand Habsburg-Lothringen, Robin Frijns

In June, he claimed victory in the Road to Le Mans support race, an outing that was widely seen as preparation for a planned assault in the 24-hour classic at La Sarthe in 2024.

Sunday’s test session will further prepare him for a possible WEC programme, which could begin as early as 2024.

WRT, the team which Rossi has been competing in GTs, will serve as BMW’s factory squad for its planned return to WEC next year in the Hypercar division.

In addition, WRT is also understood to be planning a two-car entry in the new LMGT3 class in 2024 with the BMW M4 GT3.

Charles Weerts, who moved to BMW this year after a long stint at Audi, will also get to sample WRT’s Oreca P2 car in the post-season Bahrain test on Sunday.

“I cannot wait to have my first run in the LMP2!" said the Belgian.

"I’ve always kept an eye on WRT’s WEC programmes and I’m excited to test the car they have had so much success in.

"It will also give me a great insight into prototypes, especially with WRT’s future with the BMW Hypercar. A huge thank you to everyone at Team WRT for giving me this opportunity.”

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