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Could Valentino Rossi Race in the Indy 500?

Discussion in 'Motorsports' started by Paul Jeffrey, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium

    Valentino Rossi Ferrari F1 Test.jpg
    Following MotoGP superstar Valentino Rossi's expression of interest as to Fernando Alonso's Indy 500 attempt, we consider the possibility of seeing 'The Doctor' try his hand at IndyCar in future...

    With McLaren driver Fernando Alonso already set to make his Indy 500 debut this May, seven time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi is the latest superstar to express an interest in his performance during the big American race, leading us to wonder if a surprise attempt could be on the cards for the Italian bike racing megastar.

    Although on first look it would appear an unlikely match to see the legendary #46 behind the wheel of a 200 mph + open wheel racing car in competitive action, Rossi has proven time and again during his incredible career that he isn't afraid of a challenge. With several highly promising tests for the Ferrari Formula One team already under his belt, plus many national level rally events spread over several years, Rossi has always expressed an interest in considering a later career on four wheels once his illustrious MotoGP career comes to a full time conclusion.

    Despite a lack of top level car racing experience, Rossi has tried his hand at oval driving before when he took to the track in a Kyle Busch Toyota Camry from the NASCAR Nationwide series at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2013, reportedly lapping consistently and producing times that would have put the bike racer within the top 15 for that event's Nationwide Series practice. So the speed is undoubtedly within the rider to compete at a high level in this sort of motorsport environment.

    “The one time I went with NASCAR and it was very interesting, but you understand it’s very different" said Rossi when speaking about Alonso's attempt at the 500.​

    Valentino Rossi Nascar.jpg

    “It was a surprise, because it’s strange that Alonso won’t race in Monaco,” added the number 46 Yamaha factory rider​

    "But I think the situation with the car (in F1) is difficult and he wants to try something else.

    “It will be very interesting to understand the potential of Alonso at Indy because it’s completely another world, especially when you race on the oval.
    Rossi has time and again proved his four wheel speed in both Formula One testing with Ferrari and his numerous rally victories and podium placings, so could the next step in expanding his racing credentials lead Rossi down the path of the Indy 500?

    Well we know the American fans adore Rossi already, and American sport in general is never slow to make the most of a marketing opportunity and expand the reach of the franchise, so a big name signing from outside of the usual pool of driving talent isn't as far fetched as it might initially appear. With the undoubted speed of Rossi, even as he approaches his 39th year, the marketability and fan draw of the #46 brand and one of the most high profile racing events in the world, Valentino Rossi and the Indy 500 very much has all the ingredients to be a blockbuster of a combination and something I personally would love to see become a reality... but will it ever happen, and if it did would Rossi be able to hold his own amongst some of the most elite oval drivers in the world?

    Fernando Alonso Indy 500.png

    In other Indy 500 news, Alonso has been confirmed to drive an IndyCar for the first time following the upcoming Russian Grand Prix at the end of April, getting in some early seat time in his Indy 500 challenging mount before official testing for the big race begins on May 15th. Alonso, set to run for the famous Andretti Autosport outfit, backed by current Formula One team McLaren Honda, will be keen to get a early handle on a car that his very different from his usual working office, and driving on an oval track for the very first time in his career before hitting the circuit later in the month in a competitive fashion alongside the main IndyCar season field.

    For more motorsport news and discussions, head over to the Motorsports sub forum here at RaceDepartment and involve yourself with our passionate sim racing community. We host a number of live stream features from some of the best racing series in the world, offer comprehensive coverage of the FIA Formula One World Championship and World Endurance Championship as well as several key motorsport series in the world. If you like racing, and enjoy sharing your passion with fellow race fans, then RaceDepartment is the place for you!

    Do you think Rossi would make the switch to car racing in future? Is the Italian superstar too old to try out for an IndyCar drive? What series could you see Rossi race full time once his MotoGP career comes to an end? Let us know in the comments section below!
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
    • Like Like x 3
  2. InsaneOzzie


    Nice write up Paul:thumbsup:
    Ive been watching him in Moto GP for years, for his age the man is a "God" on 2 wheels.

    I think Rossi has plans to go to 4 wheels when he steps of his Moto GP bike. He's proven that he has plenty of opposite lock talent in rally cars and gymkhana style events. To see him park his butt in a Nascar seat would be cool, given time I think he would do well.

    TBH I'd rather see him get into GT3's than Nascar:whistling:, but it's a start. Good luck to him, he certainly has what it takes.

    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Gui Cramer

    Gui Cramer

    I'd love to see Rossi racing everything because he's an old school badass racer, to be simple in my description. I fear he'd not be as successful given the kind of racing but hell yeah.
  4. krzysiek_aleks

    Mr. 107%; worst Polish simracer in history Premium

    He drove once Ferrari 458 GT3 in BES 2012 at Monza
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Glaurung


    Being realistic and party pooper, he still has about a couple of years of top level competition in Moto GP.
    Why the hell risking it with these on-off sponsored events?
    He may dedicate to those things after his career on bikes is over.
  6. Rob


    I'm sorry, but not a chance.

    Now I would like to see Mattias Ekstrom test an oval, and see him at Indy, sort of like Nigel.
    But Mattias has not expressed interest. As for Rossi, much respect, but even Fernando will struggle. I'll be rooting for him, though.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Alex Townsend

    Alex Townsend
    test Premium

    More Rossi is always a good thing. He's such an important brand to MotoGP and motorsport in general.
    I remember his test for Ferrari and the furore surrounding just the idea of the merchandise alone. VR46 Ferrari gear. You'd be selling hand over fist.
    But yes. I'd like to see him on 4 wheels when he finally hangs up the biking leathers.
    Too old for F1 but definitely GT3 Blancpain sprints, endurance and LeMans.
    If he could win Indy and also LeMans with multiple MotoGP titles what would that be called? :confused:
  8. Rob Every

    Rob Every

    Rossi's heart is with motorcycles and rallying, not a lot else.
    If he did do these things it would be after his GP career is done obviously, that is a little too all encompassing to warrant this type of departure that Alonso has done, plus Rossi is still capable of winning races so no chance would Yamaha let him even try a car like this.

    He trains on his dirt track like a madman, that is probably worry enough for his employers.

    But in the future I can see him doing all sorts, Dakar, GT racing, but rallying is his big love. Not car racing.
  9. Jim Layee

    Jim Layee

    Is this the same Rossi who's driven Formula cars, GT's , A Nascar etc etc ? Or a different one that doesn't drive these and doesn't turn up to watch all sorts of cars no?

    Of course a true fan like you knows his heart so much better than me who just watches him ride and drive all manner of things and always with a smile on his face.
  10. @apocapollo


    Ricky Carmichael is a hugely successful Supercross rider from the United States. He came before Villipoto and after McGrath and is nicknamed the GOAT in the motocross world. He gave NASCAR a try, running three seasons in the Truck Series and some isolated events in other series. I'd say he was more or less as successful as Danica Patrick, which isn't much. Ricky is the example I think of when I hear about moto guys wanting to make the transition to four wheel series. I don't see Valentino being any good at all in the Indianpolis 500. Simply put, how would any of his skills as a moto rider translate to skills as an open-wheel oval driver?
  11. Rob Every

    Rob Every

    No need to be sarcastic, yet more crap from people who read a username not a post.

    Rossi likes doing all sorts of things, but he will not compete properly in anything until his bike career is over

    The things he has consistently done are rallying and biking, the GT stuff and NASCAR are sponsor trips and one offs. If you knew anything of the man as you say you do you would obviously realise that!