IMSA President Scott Atherton said they have no plans to performance balance LMP3 machinery and the renamed MPC class in the new-look Prototype Challenge powered by Mazda series, despite the former L1 cars having a strong showing in last weekend’s season-opener at Sebring.
Kyle Masson’s MPC class-winning Elan DP02 finished inside the top-five overall in both 45-minute races, with Masson having posted a best lap time within 1.5 seconds of the ACO’s entry level prototypes, which made their highly anticipated debut under IMSA sanction.
“We had some reservation, not to say that we were concerned, but you never know until you see it on track operating in the flesh, to so to speak, how the two different types of cars would play together,” Atherton told Sportscar365.
“The short answer is that we as a sanctioning body don’t think it could have gone much better.
“You had a nice mix of the two examples of LMP3 and MPC. They interacted well, they raced well.
“I think as has been suspected… others have suggested that on the right race track with right driver, you could see those cars being truly interchangeable, in terms of who’s leading the overall race.
“That would be great. We don’t have a pre-conceived expectation of how that’s going to play out.”
Atherton said they “do not have a script” for the outcome of the PC races, admitting that a MPC car could conceivably contend for overall wins in certain circumstances.
The seven-round championship features a diverse mix of circuits, ranging from Sebring to Watkins Glen, Lime Rock Park and the streets of Trois-Rivières, as part of the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières in August.
“We expected the LMP3 car would be slightly faster in terms of lap time,” Atherton said. “I think the cars probably produce their lap times slightly differently because the architecture of each car is significantly different.
“The LMP3 car is heavier and has more horsepower. The MPC is lighter and fully developed; those cars have been rubbed on for many, many years and the drivers are typically very experienced in those cars.
“The combination of those two variables, we thought, would put them very close in proximity to each other, and I think you saw that.”
Atherton said IMSA has maintained the ACO’s full technical specifications of the LMP3 class, including the fact that the platform, as is the case with the global-spec LMP2 cars, does not feature BoP between chassis.