Seven-times MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi has said that he’d like to race at Le Mans once he retires from two-wheeled racing.
37-year-old Rossi has been racing motorbikes at World Championship level since 1996 and is widely considered to be one of the greatest riders of all time. He’ll be there a little while longer too, as he’s contracted to race with Yamaha until the end of 2018, but recently he spoke about what he’d like to do once he retires.
Speaking in an interview with the managing director of Yamaha, Lin Jarvis, Rossi said: “It’s one goal to try to do the Dakar in the future, but it’s very, very hard, you have to be well prepared. For sure [I’d do it] with the car, because with the motorcycle it’s really dangerous, we will see.”
Rossi already has experience with rallying, having entered a handful of WRC events in the last decade. For now the Dakar Rally will have to wait though, because he’s got something else in his sights first – the Le Mans 24 Hours.
“I’m more concentrated on the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it’s the first goal, because on the track I feel better, so maybe when I will stop with the bike we can have time.”
Valentino Rossi at Le Mans? Yes please! Realistically you’d think it’d be in a GTE car or maybe an LMP2, but someone for someone as famous and popular (and talented) as Valentino Rossi you’d hope one of the LMP1 teams might find a spot for him somewhere in one of their cars.
Circuit racing on four wheels wouldn’t be a massive switch-up for Rossi as he tested extensively with Ferrari in the mid-2000s and was even linked to a switch to F1 at one-point, but he ultimately decided to stick to motorbikes.
It’s not a choice he regrets though: “I think that it was the right decision, after 2006 I remained in MotoGP and I won another two championships, had great races, great battles, so I don’t have any regrets. But I like a lot Formula 1 for sure, I had one moment where I said ‘we try, try to understand what can happen’, so we made some tests, went to Valencia and tested together with the others. I remember on the flight back from Valencia to Rimini I said ‘no, I’m not ready to stop with motorcycles’ and it was the right choice.”
It would have been cool to see how he got on in F1, but the prospect of Rossi at Le Mans is still something to get excited about.