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Valentino Rossi IMPRESSES in FIA WEC Rookie Test LMP2 at Bahrain

Written by Owen Bradley

Credit: Team WRT on Instagram

Valentino Rossi took part in the FIA World Endurance Test, driving an LMP2 car owned by Team WRT. Rossi has driven in the 2022 and 2023 GT World Challenge Europe with Team WRT, taking a Victory in this years Misano Sprint round, and three podiums over the course of the 2023 season.

Rossi has always stated that to race in the World Endurance Championship, is his main goal and final destination as a racing driver, having spent over 25 years racing at top-level motorcycle championship, MotoGP and becoming the most famous rider (arguably) in the world, taking 9-World Championships.

A stellar career which is about to become even brighter with this new report.

Rossi dreams of the illustrious Le Mans 24 Hours Endurance race. The iconic circuit which has given major historic moments in the motorsport world, is one which many Ex-F1 drivers have had a crack at, most recently it's been Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and even rumours of Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher joining the grid in the coming years. This was Rossi's first ever test for the World Endurance, testing an LMP2 car which is only one step behind the main Hypercar class.

Rookie Test

Credit: Team WRT on Instagram

Whilst there are no videos, and there was also no live stream to tune in and watch, it's quickly become clear how fast Rossi was in the LMP2 category at this test.

In the morning session, Rossi managed to do 30 laps, with a personal best of a 1:55.728

He was unfortunately 0.800s off WRT Teammate, Charles Weerts. Despite being slightly further off the pace in the morning session, this is exactly what the rookie test is designed for, to get new drivers to WEC and for them to spend time, getting used to conditions.

However, the Afternoon test would be far greater for Valentino Rossi. Once again, it's unclear if the Live Timing is slightly skewed due to technical difficulties, but the results did come back, that he had done 30 laps once again, and set the Third time of the Afternoon session in the LMP2 category, with a 1:55.118s - an absolutely remarkable lap time.

To be clear on how impressive this is, let's compare his fastest lap time, to the LMP2 Bahrain qualifying times.

Credit: Team WRT on Instagram

Doing this, it becomes clear that Valentino Rossi would have been at the back of the LMP2 grid, by only 1 Second to the next car in front of him. However once you consider that those drivers are only a single second quicker, and have driven an entire season in LMP2, where Rossi has only done one day in the car, this result is absolutely incredible.

LMP2 cars are different to the GT's that Rossi has driven. GT's offer Traction Control settings, so the car doesn't spin out of corners. They also offer ABS Braking assists, to assure the driver that the car doesn't lock it's wheels up in the braking zones.

Elsewhere in the rookie test, Robert Shwartzman topped the Hypercar timings, testing the Le Mans 24 Hours 2023 race-winning Ferrari #51 car alongside Wadoux Lilou.

Norman Nato ended up just over half a second from the top of the timesheets, setting a 1:49.130s in the Porsche JOTA Team.

Stoffel Vandoorne was also testing the Hypercar of the #94 Peugeot, managing to set a 1:51.037s. Vandoorne is a known figure in Formula 1 and Formula E, a very intriguing driver who has found success through Formula E, winning the 2021-22 Formula E Championship.

A number of extremely recognisable names on the time sheets in the Bahrain test, who seemingly all want to compete in the World Endurance Championship in the near future, alongside other legends like Sebastian Buemi, Kamui Kobayashi and Brendon Hartley. World Endurance 2023 might have come to it's conclusion, but there is still much excitement surrounding the 2024 season.

Valentino Rossi to WEC? Conclusion

Credit: Team WRT on Instagram

Coming off the back of this Rookie Test, a few things are clear. Valentino Rossi should either be able to do another test, at another circuit in the LMP2 car, or they should now allow him to test a Hypercar to understand his true potential in the Top Class.

BMW have built a Hypercar which will enter the World Endurance Championship in 2024, and have previously stated that Valentino Rossi will be able to participate in a test before the end of 2023, so this is another event coming, fans and racing enthusiasts alike, will be keeping their eyes on.

Heading into the 2024 season, nothing is quite confirmed for Valentino Rossi to continue in the GT World Challenge Sprint Cup, which ironically are the events where he has picked up all of his podiums. He has stated that he will be continuing in the GTWC Endurance Cup, so for events like the Spa 24 Hours, he will race for a third time. A lot of crossovers happen between the World Endurance Championship, and the GT World Challenge Endurance Cup. It might just be the case, that Valentino Rossi finds himself in the 2024 World Endurance Championship as a Full-Time driver, whilst also keeping himself occupied in the 2024 GT World Challenge Endurance Cup too. The timetables do not clash, and allows him to continue a GT career, and also race potentially in an LMP2 car or even possibly a Hypercar, although this will be unlikely until we hear or see the test he will do at the end of the year.

But where do you think Valentino Rossi will end up in 2024? Let us know in the comments down below!

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