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Rossi and Marciello join forces with WRT at Bathurst

Rossi and Marciello join forces with WRT at Bathurst

> Belgian squad returns with two factory backed M4 GT3s
> Marciello: Mount Panorama the ‘perfect’ place for BMW debut

BMW M Team WRT returns to Mount Panorama this February for its second factory assault on the REPCO Bathurst 12 Hour.

Its two works crews feature just one change from the same race last year when its M4 GT3s finished fourth and sixth in the Intercontinental GT Challenge season opener.

Valentino Rossi is again joined by Maxime Martin, but the established duo have a new driver alongside them in the shape of BMW’s latest recruit, Raffaele Marciello.

The second entry, meanwhile, is again shared by Sheldon van der Linde, Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts.

However, the bulk of attention will naturally centre on #46 thanks to a certain MotoGP legend who fulfilled a lifetime ambition by racing at Mount Panorama last year. The experience did not disappoint, and neither did Rossi who held his own against drivers with far more experience of the daunting circuit.

This year, though, he’ll be sharing the limelight with reigning Fanatec GT Europe champion and Macau FIA GT World Cup winner Marciello whose long association with Mercedes-AMG drew to a close at the end of 2023. Bathurst signals the Swiss driver’s maiden outing with BMW, which is also chasing its first GT3-era victory at the 12 Hour.

“Bathurst is a very special place for me – the perfect first race with BMW M Motorsport,” said Marciello, who claimed pole there in 2019. “I love the circuit and have come very close to winning on a few occasions. Unfortunately, it has never quite worked out so far. 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.”

WRT won the event on its first outing there with Audi back in 2018 when Vanthoor was also part of the line up. The Belgian and Van der Linde won two IGTC races in 2023 – at Kyalami and Indianapolis – en route to third and fifth in the final standings. Rossi, meanwhile, saved his best-ever IGTC result – second place – for the Gulf 12 Hours finale in December when BMW just failed to deny Mercedes-AMG the manufacturers’ crown.

The REPCO Bathurst 12 Hour opens IGTC’s four-round globe-trotting campaign on February 16-18.