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Rossi Planning to Make Le Mans Debut Next Year in LMGT3

Former MotoGP star targeting Le Mans debut next year in LMGT3 class…

Photo: BMW M Motorsport

Valentino Rossi is planning to make his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut in the LMGT3 class next year as part of a quest to compete in the “great races” on four wheels.

The seven-time MotoGP world champion, who switched to GT racing with Team WRT last year, has said that it’s his “target” to contest the 2024 edition of the French endurance classic in GT3 machinery.

Rossi will attend the 100th-anniversary Le Mans event next month, competing in the Road to Le Mans support races aboard a BMW M4 GT3 shared with Jerome Policand.

That experience is set to help him prepare for his first attempt at the main event next year, which would tick another major endurance race off his bucket list.

Rossi did the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa with WRT as part of his Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS program last year, and contested the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour in February after the Belgian team’s switch from Audi to BMW.

“The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the most famous race in the world and it’s for sure a target,” Rossi said during last weekend’s GTWC Europe Sprint Cup round at Brands Hatch.

“I think we will try to do it next year. The Road to Le Mans is a great chance because it’s the only chance where you can use the same circuit.

“I am very happy and cannot wait, also to stay for the weekend because I never saw the race. I always followed from a television.

“To understand the atmosphere, there is always a lot of people and I think that is great. We will see our performance, trying to prepare at the simulator for the circuit. I’m very curious.”

Rossi’s preference for doing Le Mans in LMGT3 would keep him in familiar surroundings, considering he has already done a season with WRT’s GT racing operation.

The Italian, who became a BMW factory driver this year, is also set to sample the German manufacturer’s LMDh prototype which WRT is expected to start testing next month.

“My idea is to compete in the great races of the season: Le Mans, but also the 24 Hours of Spa,” said Rossi. “I want to race the 24 Hours of Nürburgring at the Green Hell.

“Bathurst, for sure, is great. This is the target. At the moment, with the GT car. For sure next year.

“The other thing is to try the LMDh as soon as possible. We will organize with BMW, I think during this season, I can have one or two days of tests.

“I don’t know when or where. Maybe September or October. And after, if I race the LMDh, maybe yes but it depends on my performance and speed.

“If I am fast enough to race with that car, it’s important. But also I like a lot the GT cars and I want to continue to race with the GT.  A lot of the top drivers do it like this. We will see.”

Rossi is unsure if his planned Le Mans debut next year will be a one-off entry or as part of an FIA World Endurance Championship campaign.

A full-season WEC program would secure his place on a grid that is expected to register high demand as GT3 cars make their debut alongside a growing Hypercar field.

“This I don’t know,” Rossi said. “I feel good in this championship [GTWC Europe], but we will see the program of next year.

“The first idea is to race in endurance. I want to race the 24 Hours of Spa – I think it’s the best race for GT cars. After, I don’t know. We still don’t know. We will decide.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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