The MotoGP legend will drive a Team WRT Audi R8 for the fourth time this season as part of his evolution into a four-wheel racer.

The 1000km race at the Circuit Paul Ricard in southern France is on Saturday from 4pm until 10pm (UK).

Valentino Rossi vs Marc Marquez - The Rivalry | MotoGP

“Paul Ricard will be the first long race, a real endurance one,” Rossi said. 

“We had one day of tests there in the winter and it is a very technical and difficult track, quite tricky. 

“It will be important to take the right approach, together with [teammates Nico Muller and Fred Vervisch], and we hope to be strong.”

Rossi, now 43, endured a mishap during a pitstop of his World GT Challenge Europe debut at Imola earlier this year.

But he rebounded to score his first points in the second royce of the championship at Brands Hatch in the UK.

Rossi crashed in qualifying in Magny-Cours last time out but put in an impressive showing to recover from 22nd to 15th in the race.

Rossi’s teammate Vervisch said: “We look forward to the Ricard. At Imola, we were good and without the pit stop issue, we would have done a good result. 

“Now, with the experience gained in the Sprint races, we look forward to a very good result, the target should be a strong top-10, because it is possible.”

Team WRT Principal Vincent Vosse commented: “The Paul Ricard has always been a challenging track for us, but we proved the last two years that we can do well if we don’t do mistakes. 

“It’s a long race, finishing in darkness, and it’s good preparation for the Spa 24 Hours. 

“We have been testing here this winter and are confident. It will be important to qualify well and not to do mistakes as the event is concentrated on two days.”

Rossi saw his iconic #46 retired by MotoGP last weekend in Mugello but can deliver a reminder on Saturday night that his racing days are far from over.