Rossi to contest Gulf 12 Hours ahead of 2022 GT programme

MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi will contest January's Gulf 12 Hours at the wheel of a Ferrari at the start of what looks set to be a full programme of car racing in 2022.

Rossi, who retired from bike racing at the conclusion of this year's MotoGP season, will take part in the two six-hour events that make up the Yas Marina enduro in Abu Dhabi on 8 January aboard a Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo.

His teammates will be half-brother Luca Marini and his long-time friend and associate Alessio 'Uccio' Salucci, with whom he finished third and fourth overall in his two previous attempts on the race in 2019 and this year when the race temporarily moved to Bahrain as a result of the COVID pandemic.

Rossi has stated that he is intending to race cars regularly next season, describing four-wheel competition as his "second passion".

"Every year I try to make one or two races in cars," Rossi said in an interview posted this week on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship's Twitter feed.

"From next year I will race GT cars in endurances races and championships; at the moment it is not decided [in which series] yet."

The 42-year-old hinted that there is a strong possibility that he could end up racing in IMSA in 2022, saying "there is a very interesting championship in the US called IMSA," before mentioning its season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona fixture in January.

Prime:
#46 Monster VR46 Kessel Ferrari 488 GT3: Valentino Rossi, Luca Marini, Alessio Salucci

#46 Monster VR46 Kessel Ferrari 488 GT3: Valentino Rossi, Luca Marini, Alessio Salucci

Photo by: Fotospeedy

Rossi has also outlined an ambition to one day race at the Le Mans 24 Hours round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

"When I stop doing MotoGP, I could still race cars for another 10 years," he said in 2019. "I really enjoy it and and am thinking of trying to do Le Mans."

Rossi's four-wheel-racing experience includes competing in two rounds of the 2012 Blancpain Endurance Series, now the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup, aboard a Kessel Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3.

He also tested a Ferrari Formula 1 car in 2004, '06 and '09 and has contested three rounds of the World Rally Championship.

Last month, Rossi revealed last month that he would be interested to share a car with McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris one day. Norris, who is a big fan of Rossi's, subsequently revealed that he has discussed racing together with the Italian.

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