Nine-time motorcycle Grand Prix champion Valentino Rossi will return to GT racing at the Gulf 12 Hours later this year, driving for Kessel Racing.
The 40-year-old will share a Ferrari 488 GT3 in the race at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit on Dec. 14 along with his half brother Luca Marini and manager Uccio Salucci.
Rossi has previously competed with Kessel, driving one of the Swiss team’s Ferrari F458 Italia GT3s in two Blancpain Endurance Series races in 2012.
It won’t be the first time Kessel has run other bikers in the Gulf 12 Hours, having entered Loris Capirossi and Jorge Lorenzo in previous editions of the race.
Rossi, who currently races for Monster Energy Yamaha in MotoGP, has previously revealed his ambition to compete in other prestigious endurance races, including the 24-hour events at Le Mans, Spa and Nürburgring.
A new entry process for this year’s Gulf 12H was revealed following the last edition of the race, with the grid capped to 32 cars.
Entries opened at the end of January, but event organizers haven’t released a provisional entry list as planned in April.
In December, promoter Andrea Ficarelli promised that “the new entry process should allow us to publish the preliminary entry list of the 9th Gulf 12 Hours well in advance, at least 6 months before the race.”
Six months before the race falls soon, in mid-June, and so more news regarding the field should be expected soon.
Laurent Mercier contributed to this report.