‘Thrilled' - Valentino Rossi returns to Australia for Bathurst debut

A six-time MotoGP winner at Phillip Island, Valentino Rossi makes a racing return to Australia this weekend for an early awaited debut at the legendary Mount Panorama Circuit.
Valentino Rossi, Phillip Island 2005
Valentino Rossi, Phillip Island 2005

The Bathurst 12 Hours, also the opening round of Intercontinental GT Challenge, will see Rossi joined by team-mates Augusto Farfus and Maxime Martin in a #46 BMW M4 GT3 run by the WRT squad.

Rossi, who raced an Audi last season, celebrated a podium finish on his BMW debut in the recent 24 Hours of Dubai, won by the sister WRT car.

“I am very happy to go back to Australia, a country I love and where I used to go a couple of times a year [when] in MotoGP,” said Rossi, whose last Australian MotoGP race was in 2019.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be discovering Bathurst, which is a mythical track which I have always wanted to drive, and one of my favourites on the simulator," added the Italian.

“This time it is going to be for real and I can’t wait to be there. It will be a tough race, starting very early and with a strong field.

“I will be driving with Maxime and Augusto, who will be my team-mates in the Endurance Cup this year, so it is a very good opportunity to start working together, and we will give our best to be competitive.”

Martin said: “I’m happy to be associated again with Augusto, whom I know for a long time, and to race for the second time with Vale after our podium in Dubai. The team is well prepared and knows the race, so let’s see what we can do.”

Valentino Rossi's BMW (Xynamic Automotive Photography)
Valentino Rossi's BMW (Xynamic Automotive Photography)

The Mount Panorama Circuit - located in the hills of New South Wales, a couple of hours inland from Sydney - features a natural, challenging 6.213km layout including some long straights and a very twisty section around the mountain.

Team Principal Vincent Vosse said: “I really put Bathurst among the mythical tracks and races in our sports, along with Spa, the Nordschleife, Le Mans and Macau, one of those places where you feel humbled by history and by the track itself.

“Bathurst is particularly difficult and one where the first objective is simply to stay on track.”

26 GT cars, with a strong international representation, are entered in this year’s race.

Although Rossi continued competing in MotoGP until the end of 2021, Covid restrictions forced the 2020 and 2021 Phillip Island events to be cancelled.

Intercontinental GT Challenge - Round 1
Bathurst 12 Hours, Australia: 3-5 February 2023

Timetable (Local time – CET -10)

Friday 3 February 2023
09:45-10:25 Practice 1
11:05-11:45 Practice 2 (Bronze drivers only)
14:00-14:40 Practice 3 (Bronze drivers only)
16:10-16:50 Practice 4

Saturday 4 February 2023
08:35-09:35 Practice 5
10:50-11:50 Practice 6
12:45-13:10 Qualifying 1
13:55-14:35 Qualifying 2
Sunday 5 February 2023
05:45-17:45 Race (12 hours) 

Read More