Valentino Rossi, Bathurst 12-hour, massive signing, February, endurance race, BMW, return, global star

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Seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi has made the shock decision to drive a BMW in next year’s Bathurst 12-hour endurance race in a massive signing for the event.

Rossi, one of the biggest names in motorsport who was inducted into the MotoGP Hall of Fame after he retired from the sport in 2021, will get behind the wheel of a M4 GT3 for his first time at the famous Mount Panorama racetrack.

And in true Rossi style, his car will be kitted out in his famous number 46.

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The 43-year-old Italian will be joined at 12-Hour winners Team WRT by endurance specialists Belgian Maxime Martin and Brazilian Augusto Farfus for the Bathurst race.

“Valentino Rossi is one of the biggest names in the world of motorsport and we’re proud that the LIQUI MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour will be his first experience of Mount Panorama,” Bathurst 12 Hour Event Director Shane Rudzis said.

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“Having had so much success here on two wheels, Valentino has an enormous Australian fanbase and we are prepared for a significant increase in attention as a result of his entry.

“It’s one of the most significant driver announcements in Bathurst 12 Hour history and we are thankful to BMW, WRT, Valentino and his team for making it happen – and we can’t wait to welcome him to Mount Panorama next February.”

Rossi is no stranger to Australian conditions, having won the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island a whopping eight times during his incredible two-wheel career.

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His inclusion could go a long way to breaking BMW’s title drought, given they’ve never won the 12-Hour in the current International GT3 era.

The Bathurst 12-Hour will run from February 3-5 next year.

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