Valentino Rossi, the reigning MotoGP champion, will drive a Ferrari in the Gulf 12 Hours in January, kicking off what appears to be a full schedule of auto racing in 2022.
Rossi, who announced his retirement from motorcycle racing at the end of this year’s MotoGP season, will compete in the Yas Marina enduro in Abu Dhabi on January 8 atop a Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo.
His half-brother Luca Marini and fellow Italian Alessio Salucci, with whom he placed third and fourth overall in his two prior efforts at the race in 2019 and this year when the event was temporarily moved to Bahrain due to the COVID-19 epidemic, would be his team-mates.
Rossi has stated that he plans to race cars on a regular basis next season, calling four-wheel racing 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 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.”
In an interview posted this week on the IMSA SportsCar Championship’s Twitter account, Rossi said, “Every year I try to make one or two races in cars.”
The 42-year-old intimated that he would race in the North American IMSA series in 2022, adding, “There is a really fascinating championship in the United States called IMSA,” before noting the series’ season-opening Daytona 24 Hours race in January.
Rossi has also stated his desire to compete in the World Endurance Championship’s Le Mans 24 Hours one day.
“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 raced in two rounds of the 2012 Blancpain Endurance Series, which is now the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup, in a Kessel Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3.
He has also competed in three World Rally Championship races, testing a Ferrari Formula 1 car in 2004, 2006, and 2009.
Rossi said last month that he’d like to share a car with McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris in the future.
Norris, a huge Rossi fan, later disclosed that he and the Italian have talked about racing together.
The uniforms of MOTOGP racing drivers are currently available at the following websites for a reasonable price: