MotoGP great Valentino Rossi will race a full season with BMW in the new LMGT3 category of the FIA World Endurance Championship, including competing in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Organisers announced the participation of Rossi, 44, next year on Monday.
The LMGT3 category replaces the LMGTE class that has been on the grid since 2012.
Rossi will be making his Le Mans 24 Hours debut next June in the No.46 car - the same number he raced with on two wheels in a career that brought him nine world championships.
The Italian, who also owns the VR46 MotoGP team, won a Road to Le Mans support race this year.
"I am very excited to compete in the FIA WEC. It is the next step for me to participate in a world championship, not only in Europe but to race globally again," he said.
"I am already familiar with the car after this season, but the format with three drivers from three different performance categories will be new for me. Overall, I believe we will be very well positioned."
Polish former Formula One driver Robert Kubica will be driving a Ferrari in the top Hypercar category of the championship with the AF Corse team after winning the now-defunct LMP2 category.
Many of the driving positions are yet to be announced but Australia's Matt Campbell will be competing for Porsche Penske in the Hypercar category.
Mick Schumacher, a Mercedes F1 reserve driver and son of Ferrari great Michael, will be making his Hypercar debut in the series with Renault-owned Alpine.
Championship organisers published the entry list on Monday with a record 19 Hypercars and 14 manufacturers represented across both classes. The LMGT3 class has 18 entries.
The manufacturers are Alpine, Aston Martin, BMW, Cadillac, Corvette, Ferrari, Ford, Isotta Fraschini, Lamborghini, Lexus, McLaren, Peugeot, Porsche and champions Toyota. Nine of them will be competing in the Hypercar championship.
McLaren have partnered with United Autosports to make their LMGT3 debut.
"To have an entry list featuring 19 Hypercars plus 18 LMGT3 entries representing 14 different manufacturers truly reflects the golden era of endurance racing that we are experiencing right now," said WEC chief executive Frederic Lequien.
Australian Associated Press