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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
HomeNewsBathurstHow Rossi rejuvenated the Bathurst 12 Hour

How Rossi rejuvenated the Bathurst 12 Hour

A trackside sea of black and yellow. Merchandise alley awash with all things #46. And the paddock ringing to the call of “Vale, Vale” whenever the great man emerged from his motorhome.

There were times when the 2023 Bathurst 12 Hour felt more MotoGP than Mount Panorama.

TICKETS: Buy your tickets to the Repco Bathurst 12 Hour

This was the weekend when Australia’s international endurance race arose from the COVID-19 cloud and went truly global again. And much of that was thanks to the presence of Valentino Rossi.

The seven-time MotoGP world champion contested the race as part of his new life as a GT driver.

Retiring from motorcycle racing’s premier class at the end of 2021, he made a long-awaited switch to four-wheels in 2022, competing in GT World Challenge Europe aboard an Audi with Team WRT.

For 2023, the Belgian squad switched to BMW, paving the way for Rossi to fulfill a long-time desire to race at Mount Panorama, while also creating a dream scenario for the race’s promoter and Rossi’s adoring Australian fans.

“Valentino Rossi’s attendance in 2023 with BMW M Team WRT was an iconic moment in the event’s history,” says Bathurst 12 Hour event boss Shane Rudzis.

“I’d heard about the ‘Rossi factor’ from his attendance at GT events in Europe at various SRO rounds, and they were correct.

“From the moment we announced Rossi’s attendance at the event we saw large media attention and talk of having a true motorsport legend competing.”

The man known as ‘The Doctor’ delivered on and off track during his maiden appointment with the Mountain.

Read all about Rossi’s return in the Repco Bathurst 12 Hour Official Program.

On Thursday of race week, he met the locals during the traditional ‘Town to Track’ autograph session in the centre of town.

That evening, Rossi and his small entourage quietly dropped into annual welcome function held for media and officials in pitlane.

There he donned one of the event’s Akubra-style promotional hats, swigged a can of Carlton Dry and politely took photo and autograph requests from any who asked.

This was not a compulsory event engagement. It was a bloke meeting Bathurst and soaking up the experience.

Read the full version of this feature on Valentino Rossi in the 2024 Repco Bathurst 12 Hour Official Program.

The 104-page publication is available to pre-order now in the V8 Sleuth Superstore and will be sold trackside at the event’s Official Merchandise stand.

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