Valentino Rossi, the seven-time MotoGP World Champion and BMW factory driver, is set to compete for BMW in the 2024 World Endurance Championship (WEC), marking a notable transition from his distinguished MotoGP career. Rossi has a history of car racing experience, having competed for two entire seasons in the GT World Challenge Europe in 2022 and 2023 with an Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo and subsequently a BMW M4 GT3. Rossi took on the task head-on and won this year's GT World Challenge event in Misano. During his time in MotoGP, he competed in races like the Gulf 12 Hours in 2019 and 2020, demonstrating a lifelong passion for motorsports.
Although Rossi's move to the WEC marks a break from his MotoGP past, his long-held goal of competing in the top Hypercar class is still unrealized. Despite this setback, Rossi decided to give sportscar racing a go. He started off by competing in the GT World Challenge, where he finished second and third, behind more seasoned BMW works drivers.
With thirteen other manufacturers also competing in the 2024 WEC, this will be BMW's first season in the endurance racing championship. As part of their partnership with the Belgian team WRT, BMW will enter two M Hybrid V8 prototypes in the Hypercar class and two M4 GT3s in the newly formed LMGT3 class.
The inaugural lineup of drivers for Team WRT is revealed in the official entry list for the 2024 WEC. In the M Hybrid V8s, the drivers will be Belgian Dries Vanthoor and South American Sheldon van der Linde, while Valentino Rossi and Brazilian Augusto Farfus will be at the wheel of the M4 GT3. The legendary #46 racing number will be prominently displayed on Rossi's M4 GT3.
WEC: Rossi's excited about 2024 Endurance Racing
Rossi shared his thoughts on the announcement, saying: “I am very excited to compete in the FIA WEC. It is the next step for me to participate in a world championship, not only in Europe but to race globally again. I am already familiar with the car after this season, but the format with three drivers from three different performance categories will be new for me. Overall, I believe we will be very well positioned.”
...but this is just the green flag – more BMW M Motorsport aces will join the 2024 roster and Le Mans 24 Hours squad.
Keep your eyes peeled for updates. pic.twitter.com/1Etug6nkZD
— BMW M Motorsport (@BMWMotorsport) November 27, 2023
BMW's Head of Motorsport, Andreas Roos, added: “Valentino Rossi made a strong debut at Le Mans this season, winning immediately in the BMW M4 GT3. Overall, his first season as a BMW M works driver has been very impressive. I am convinced that he will play an important role and be a crowd favourite in the FIA WEC. Augusto Farfus, with his experience and driving skills, will be a crucial pillar for the LMGT3 program.”
WEC: Entry list for 2024 Revealed
The entry list was recently revealed by the championship organisers, and it features an astounding representation of 14 manufacturers across both classes, with a record-breaking 19 Hypercars. A total of 18 entries are included in the LMGT3 class in particular.
Aston Martin, Alpine, BMW, Cadillac, Ferrari, Ford, Isotta Fraschini, Lamborghini, Lexus, Porsche McLaren, Peugeot and Toyota, are among the illustrious brands that have contributed to this list. Nine of these manufacturers, in particular, will be competing fiercely in the Hypercar championship.