Seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi will contest the World Endurance Championship in 2024.
However, that will not represent the fulfilment of Rossi's ultimate sportscar racing ambition - to compete in the top-line Hypercar class - just yet, as he will continue to race in GT3.
Rossi, who was in the MotoGP paddock this past weekend to watch protege Pecco Bagnaia secure his second title and reach the final decision on who will be replacing his Honda-bound brother Luca Marini in his VR46 team, retired from MotoGP competition as a rider at the end of 2021.
He pivoted to a career in sportscars, primarily focusing on the GT World Challenge championship to begin with - a series where he has now spent two seasons with the WRT outfit, first driving an Audi and then a BMW.
This past campaign brought Rossi his first GT World Challenge win - in the second race of the Misano Sprint round, with long-time BMW works driver Maxime Martin as his team-mate - as well as a class win in the second Road to Le Mans race at the legendary French circuit alongside Jerome Policand.
The 44-year-old then drove a WRT-run LMP2 Oreca in the WEC rookie test earlier this month.
However, with LMP2 no longer a class in the WEC, and with LMGTE being replaced by LMGT3, Rossi will be campaigning his familiar BMW M4 GT3 in a car that will carry his famous #46.
Only one other driver has been confirmed for WRT's two-car (therefore six-driver) LMGT3 line-up, this being BMW veteran Augusto Farfus in the other car. WRT, for so long synonymous with Audi's sportscar efforts in the past, will also run BMW's two LMDh entries in the Hypercar class.
The news of Rossi's entry into the WEC comes amid the issuing of the series' provisional 2024 entry list, which contains 19 cars in the Hypercar class and 18 cars in LMGT3.
Other drivers already confirmed for the LMGT3 class include Jose Maria Lopez (fresh off being replaced by Nyck de Vries in Toyota's Hypercar ranks), sometime Force India F1 tester Dani Juncadella, Ferrari F1 simulator driver Davide Rigon and former Lotus F1 junior Marco Sorensen.
Those 19 Hypercar entries include programmes from 2023 competitors Toyota, Ferrari, Porsche, Cadillac, and Peugeot, with two BMWs, two Alpines and a single Lamborghini joining for 2024.
It also features Porsche privateers Jota and Proton - both of which competed in the WEC this year - and the independent Isotta Fraschini team that will debut its Tipo6-C in 2024.
There is no place on the Hypercar entry for the ByKolles-run Vanwall Racing team that had hoped for a second season in the top class.