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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Rossi Downplays N24 Debut Prospects

Process of obtaining Nordschleife A-permit obstacle to near-future N24 debut for Valentino Rossi…

Photo: JEP/SRO

Valentino Rossi has downplayed the likelihood of a debut in the Nürburgring 24 in the near future, citing the time and commitment required to require an A-permit as a limiting factor.

The Italian is currently engaged in a double program in the FIA World Endurance Championship and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup and made his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut last month.

Additionally, he has competed in selected Intercontinental GT Challenge rounds including the Bathurst 12 Hour, but the nine-time motorcycle world champion indicated that he is unlikely to appear at the Nürburgring in the near future.

While he admits the Nordschleife was ‘one of his first targets’ when he transitioned to car racing following the conclusion of his MotoGP career, he explained he is currently hesitant to commit the time needed to obtain the A-permit that is required to race GT3 machinery at the Eifel venue.

As part of that process, he would be required to first complete races in slower machinery on the Nordschleife before he would be allowed to compete in the GT3-only SP9 class.

“The Nordschleife was one of my first targets, together with Le Mans,” Rossi told media gathered at last weekend’s CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa.

“But the problem is that to take the license, you have to do another race with a small car and I don’t want to drive a smaller car than GT3.

“Because we already do a lot of races with this program and to do another time, another weekend in Nürburgring with a small car… no.”

Rossi was careful to not completely close the door on the prospect of racing on the Nordschleife, citing his love of the circuit.

“Maybe in the future we will see, because the Nordschleife is a great track for everybody,” said Rossi.

“The drivers love the circuit and I did like 2,000 laps on the simulator with my friends. Maybe in the future I will have more time.”

Additionally, the 45-year-old reiterated his wish to sample the BMW M Hybrid V8 LMDh car at some point before the end of the year, pointing to the WEC Rookie Test in Bahrain as a possible opportunity.

Rossi appeared in last year’s Rookie Test, which takes place the day after the season-ending 8 Hours of Bahrain, to drive a Team WRT Oreca 07 Gibson.

BMW M Motorsport director Andreas Roos told Sportscar365 after Rossi’s LMP2 test that a follow-up outing in the Munich brand’s top-class prototype would be on the cards for this year, although that is yet to have materialized.

“For sure, to drive the Hypercar is the dream for all drivers, but I don’t know if I will ever [race it],” said Rossi.

“I hope that I can try the Hypercar before the end of the season, maybe after the last race in the WEC. But I think next year I will race with the GT3. So more or less the same program.”

Rossi’s comments about his GT3 future follow on from previous statements he made to reporters at Le Mans, where he said that he expects to carry on the same dual program in the FIA WEC and Fanatec GT Europe, with selected appearances in IGTC.

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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