Friday 25 May 2018

LMP3: Four manufacturers announced for next gen LMP3 cars

Since it's introduction in 2015, the LMP3 class has been a huge succes story with over 150 cars that have been built up to today. The goal of the LMP3 series waswas to facilitate access to the discipline with affordable cars and enable drivers and teams to progress to gain a footing on the endurance ladder. French talent Thomas Laurent is has excelled in this, moving from LMP3 in 2016 to LMP1 in 2018. 

The main objective for the next generation of LMP3 cars remains the same; to act as a springboard to attain the pinnacle of the ACO Endurance pyramid.  From the first 5 cars in the opening race of the 2015 European Le Mans Series, now LMP3 cars can be seen in a dozen different series, all over the globe. Among them are the European Le Mans Series, Asian Le Mans Series, Michelin Le Mans Cup, Road to Le Mans, LMP3 British Cup, V de V, lMSA Prototype Challenge, Gulf 12 Hours and the FRD LMP3 Series.

When LMP3 was introduced back in 2015, a precise set of specifications were submitted to the candidate manufacturers. For the second generation from 2020 to 2024, selection has focused on cost control, driver-friendly operation, modernisation, guaranteed service to the teams and closer competitiveness between the various models. Four manufacturers have been chosen: Onroak Automotive - Ligier, Duqueine Automotive - Norma, Ginetta and Adess.

The future LMP3s will be based on existing cars equipped with a kit chiefly designed to improve engine power and driver safety in the cockpit, while leaving room for some body modifications. The cost of a new car and the kit will be published shortly. The future of LMP3 begins today. The future of endurance too.

Compared to the selected manufacturers for the first generation LMP3's, Ave/Riley and Dome aren't selected anymore.  Ave/Riley only managed to get one car to race in the IMSA Prototype Challenge, the Dome never made it any further than the drawing board.  For Ginetta it's a bit of a return to the series, as they stopped production ... after some hick-ups with Oreca in the past. 

Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “To ensure continuity, we needed to form solid foundations and build up a talent pool of new drivers with a feeder series that enables novices to take their first steps in endurance, and gain race experience without breaking the bank. LMP3 seemed an obvious solution. And it has proved to be a sound decision.”