Valentino Rossi is set to test the BMW LMDh prototype after an impressive WEC rookie test in Bahrain.
BMW M Motorsport director Andreas Roos has confirmed that Valentino Rossi will get a test drive in the BMW M Hybrid V8 next year after he was impressed by the Italian’s prototype debut earlier this month.
The former MotoGP champion took some laps in Team WRT’s Oreca 07 Gibson LMP2 car at the Bahrain rookie test after conclusion of the FIA World Endurance Championship season finale.
Rossi made an impressive perforfance recording times that were less than a second slower than those of fellow prototype rookie Charles Weerts during the two test sessions.
Roos insisted in an interview with Sportscar365 that Rossi’s LMP2 test came at the right time for the Belgian team and was not a requirement for a ride in the manufacturer’s LMDh car.
“It was an opportunity that came up because WRT anyway had to run the rookie test in Bahrain,” Roos said. “At the end it was a discussion between [team principal] Vincent Vosse and the drivers. We were not really involved.
“At one stage [Valentino] asked me what I think about it, but at the end it was something that Vincent and WRT planned.”
Meanwhile, Roos reiterated that Rossi will drive the BMW M Hybrid V8 in the upcoming season.
“We always said that we want him to test, at one stage, the LMDh car,” he added. “It’s also a big wish from himself to test the car once.
“We always said we will do it but we haven’t defined a date yet. It will most likely happen somewhere in 2024, not in 2023.
“It will happen in 2024 most likely, but when, I can’t tell you right now because we have to see how it fits in all of the schedules from his schedule to our testing schedule and so on.
“At the moment his focus is clearly on the GT3 side. It was his second year in the GT3 where he did a fantastic job.
“He won races and did another big step. I think we can build up on this. He did a good job in the LMP2 car, to be honest. He was really good.
“So there’s no question mark why we shouldn’t give him the chance to also test the LMDh car.”
Rossi will likely become a part of WRT’s anticipated LMGT3 project in the WEC next year, however Roos declined to definitively state that the BMW factory driver will be driving one of the two BMW M4 GT3 cars.
Rossi’s Silver rating from the FIA for 2024 may help WRT in the Pro-Am class, where each lineup must have a minimum of one Bronze and Silver-rated driver.
“If he’s doing it, maybe it could be a next step,” Roos said. “We don’t know yet but also what he did in GT World Challenge, you can see that he improved a lot.
“Every race with every event he gets better and better. He’s a very good GT driver already.
“We are happy to have him in the [factory] driver lineup.”