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Rossi return headlines BMW Bathurst 12 Hour tilt

MOTOGP legend Valentino Rossi will return to the Repco Bathurst 12 Hour next month, again part of a two-car BMW M Team WRT line-up.

The 44-year-old was the star attraction at Mount Panorama last February, helping bring a record crowd to the GT endurance race, where many spectators were decked out in his famous yellow #46.

Rossi is teamed with Maxime Martin and new BMW factory driver, Raffaele Marciello, in the #46 BMW M4 GT3 for this year’s race.

TICKETS: Buy your tickets to the Repco Bathurst 12 Hour

The Italian finished sixth last year with Martin and Augusto Farfus, having largely impressed at the challenging circuit at the start of his second full season of car racing.

WRT’s other entry is unchanged from last year; Sheldon van der Linde, 2018 Bathurst 12 Hour winner Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts aiming to improve on their fourth-place run.

BMW won the Bathurst 12 Hour twice during its production car era but has yet to taste victory since the race adopted GT3 regulations.

BMW is aiming to break its GT3 Bathurst duck. Pic: Supplied

WRT conquered the Mountain in 2018 during its long association with Audi.

“The Bathurst 12 Hour is a spectacular event to start the year with, and we are delighted to field another strong line-up in Australia in 2024,” said Andreas Roos, Head of BMW Motorsport.  

“Together with BMW M Team WRT, we enjoyed many fantastic successes in our first season.

“Unfortunately, we were denied a Bathurst podium. We obviously want to make amends for that this time.

“With our driver line-up, I believe we are in an excellent position to enjoy a strong race.

“I am particularly looking forward to seeing Raffaele Marciello in a BMW M4 GT3 for the first time.” 

Marciello is no stranger to Bathurst, having scored a pole position and three podium finishes from four starts aboard Mercedes-AMGs during recent years.

“Bathurst is a very special place for me – the perfect first race with BMW M Motorsport,” he said.  

“I love the circuit and have come very close to winning on a few occasions. Unfortunately, it has never quite worked out so far,” he said.

“However, I believe I have a good chance to change all that this year with BMW M Team WRT. WRT is one of the best teams in the world, and my team-mates Maxime and Valentino are extremely quick.  

“Sharing the car with Vale is very special for me. I watched him in MotoGP when I was a kid.” 

The 2024 Repco Bathurst 12 Hour will take place on February 16-18, forming part of a ‘SuperFest’ with the Supercars season-opening Thrifty Bathurst 500 the following weekend.

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