MotoGP Legend Valentino Rossi To Test BMW M Hybrid V8

Motorsport / Comments

BMW's newest GT3 driver is being considered for the big leagues.

BMW M Motorsport boss Andreas Roos has revealed that nine-time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi could be in contention to test the automaker's M Hybrid V8 Le Mans contender, reports Motorsport.com.

"We plan to give him the chance of a test," said Roos. "There is the plan to give him the chance to experience a nice car like the GTP. The GT3 is already a nice car, but a GTP for sure is a different level."

Rossi was announced as a BMW M driver late last year, with his duties including appearances with BMW M Team WRT, as well as in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the Bathurst 12 Hour in the BMW M4 GT3. As is customary, Rossi's version of the M4 racer will wear his signature bright yellow hue, and we think this would look spectacular on the M Hybrid V8.

BMW

However, Rossi fans should not purchase tickets for this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans just yet. BMW's campaign in the GTP class will see seasoned endurance racers take the wheel of the hypercar, and if Rossi is offered the opportunity of trying out the machine, it will have to happen at a time that suits BMW's motorsport schedule.

"If it happens this year, definitely later in the year," said Roos. "I think at the moment we all have enough work to do and enough things to sort to be best prepared [for our IMSA campaign]."

The motorsport executive refused to be drawn on whether BMW wants Rossi to race the M Hybrid V8 in the future in either the IMSA or World Endurance championships, which is telling in itself. If Rossi impresses, he could well have a future in endurance racing, but it remains to be seen if he can quickly adapt to this new discipline.

BMW BMW

"The first goal for Valentino is to be part of our driver lineup in the GT3 program," explained Roos. "As he hasn't ever driven a car like this [M Hybrid V8], we first [want] to have him in the car and see how he gets along with the car, how feels in the car. There will be tests, and we will see from there what next steps we can do, whether there is a possibility yes or no [for him to race the hypercar]."

Basically, it's too early to know if Rossi will be a good fit for the format, but he has publicly expressed his desire to one day compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, noting that it is unlikely to happen in 2023.

BMW

Rossi has long maintained a love affair with four-wheeled machines. He's tested Formula 1 cars for Ferrari and Mercedes, competed in rally races in the World Rally Championship, entered an endurance race in Abu Dhabi, and competed in the GT World Challenge Europe with Team WRT during the 2022 season. He's even had a go behind the wheel of a NASCAR stock car, specifically Kyle Busch's Toyota Camry in 2013.

Should he make the leap to the M Hybrid V8, it would be a wonderful opportunity for both parties. Vale would get to race a hypercar built for the endurance circuit in the most demanding environments, and BMW would benefit from Rossi's immeasurable fame and marketing power. Let's hope Rossi has what it takes, but based on his past performances behind the wheel, we expect him to take to endurance racing like a duck to water.

BMW
Source Credits: Motorsport.com

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