Last month, reports circulated on the internet about Valentino Rossi exploring a possible future racing career onboard race cars after he retires from MotoGP – Ferrari Le Mans race cars to be exact.
The rumor was that the The Doctor might be included in Ferrari’s roster of drivers competing in the Hypercar class in the 2023 Le Mans 24 hours endurance race. It was quickly dispelled by an executive from Ferrari. He made it clear that Rossi, who is now 42, is “too old” to make it on the team, already filled by younger drivers.
“With all due respect, I believe that Valentino is older than the current Endurance racers and we’ll be going up against tough opponents,” Ferrari GT Sports Activities Head, Antonello Coletta said.
Le Mans Hypercars (LMH) are the top-tier class of race cars competing in the World Endurance Championship. LMH cars are the successor to the LMP1 class, composed of vehicle prototypes that do not need to have a homologated production version. They are two classes above GT3 cars (called GTE in the Endurance series), which are based on production sports cars.
Colleta added that Rossi can stick with GT3 racing if he wishes to. “Valentino has fun with the GTs, maybe he could try in that class. But, we think we already have worthy alternatives for the Hypercar, and we’ll choose among the young emerging drivers.”
Rossi's plans to go GT3 racing aren't unfounded. He's had pretty successful stints in endurance car racing, finishing third in the Gulf 12-hours in Abu Dhabi and also third in the Bahrain 12-hours event in 2021. From 2002 up until 2018, The Doctor also had a pretty successful stint in Rally Car racing, bagging 11th place in a WRC event in 2006 while dominating the Monza Rally in 2006, 2007, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.
“I have experience racing the GT3, which is an interesting category because it has a lot of different factory cars, important – from Ferrari to Porsche, from Bentley to Aston Martin. So, I think I will race with that type of car when I stop racing in MotoGP. But I don’t know in which championship sincerely,” said Rossi in an earlier interview.