MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi has decided on his 2022 sportscar racing plans.

After retiring from two-wheel racing at the end of last season, then being forced to miss the Gulf 12 Hours due to precautionary Covid self-isolation, Rossi has signed to race the full ten-round 'Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS' season with Team WRT.

The nine time world champion, who tested a WRT Audi at Valencia last December, will compete in both the Endurance Cup and Sprint Cup alongside official Audi Sport drivers.

The Sprint schedule includes a home event at Misano (1-3 July), while the Endurance Cup itinerary features an Italian round at Imola (1-3 April) as well as a maiden attempt at the 24 Hours of Spa (28-31 July).

“I am delighted to join Team WRT for a full Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS programme," Rossi said.

"Everybody knows that I have always been a great car racing fan and that I have always been interested in racing on four wheels once my MotoGP career would come to an end.

"Now I am completely available to devote myself to a car racing programme at a high level and with the right professional approach.

"Team WRT is the perfect fit I was looking for and I am anxious to start this new adventure with them.”

By joining Team WRT, Rossi has aligned himself with the most successful operation in Fanatec GT World Challenge history, amassing 28 overall teams' and drivers' titles since 2011.

The Belgian outfit has been particularly dominant in the Sprint Cup and is also a perennial contender for victory at the 24 Hours of Spa.

“I am sure that a lot of fans will be as pleased as we are that Rossi is starting a new career on four wheels and that he is doing it in GT, with Team WRT and Audi," said WRT Team Principal Vincent Vosse.

"We all know what a great motorbike champion and sports figure Vale is, but most of all, he is a true racer and a very professional and competitive sportsman, eager to be as successful as possible in the new challenge he has decided to embrace. This is exactly why we really wanted to work with him.

"The test we made at Valencia was extremely positive for both parties, in terms of technical feedback and working approach, and we took things from there. We warmly welcome Vale in the WRT family and I am sure that we are off to a very exciting experience for both.”

Rossi is not a complete newcomer to the series having contested a pair of Endurance races at Monza and the Nürburgring during the 2012 season.

He will begin his latest endeavour by joining Team WRT at the official test days at Circuit Paul Ricard on 7-8 March. The Endurance Cup season then kicks off at Imola, while the Sprint Cup schedule gets underway at Brands Hatch on 30 April- 1 May.

Stéphane Ratel, SRO Motorsports Group founder & CEO, said: "I am delighted to welcome Valentino Rossi to the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS grid for 2022.

"Having followed his illustrious career in motorcycle racing for more than two decades, it is truly exciting to witness the start of this new chapter in GT machinery.

"To attract a competitor of Valentino's stature is a tremendous vote of confidence for our championship and for GT racing in general. He will bring new energy to our paddock and I look forward to watching him on-track this season."