Atherton: No Plans to Performance Balance LMP3, MPC Cars

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

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.

17 Comments

  1. Notch

    March 24, 2017 at 9:22 am

    This is a far more interesting series than the main one specifically because of non-BoP: it’s not manufactured lottery but actual competition.

    • CookieMonsterFL

      March 24, 2017 at 4:42 pm

      …..Have you seen the racing. Sure, its definitely not BoP’d, but from an observer at the track, it turned processional after the 2nd lap.

      No thanks, i’ll take actual racing regardless of BoP.

  2. seth

    March 24, 2017 at 9:23 am

    I think we could see the Elan cars do well at Lime Rock

  3. Axl Rose ate my Buick

    March 24, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Great to see the racing shoebox back in the soptlight.

    • jason

      March 24, 2017 at 10:42 am

      I was thinking that too. That red 44 car whatever it is looks like an old grand am rectangular DP car accept with a fin on it. I am very glad that LMP3 is going to be in its own series and that the weathertech series is just DPI, GTLM, and GTD only.

  4. Luc

    March 24, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Hahahahaha how ugly is that Riley/Ave 🙂

  5. tuckerc

    March 24, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Are we ever going to be able to see this race on You Tube?

    • Kyle

      March 24, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      I believe it needs to air on TV first. Same as they do with the Conti races.

  6. Luna

    March 24, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    No BoP?
    Really? Anyone can win, not only the friends of IMSA?

    • CookieMonsterFL

      March 24, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      …..are you suggesting that the reason BoP exists or that it exists in IMSA WTUSC is because IMSA is run by a bunch of oligarchs? Ok, i’ll try to digest that.

      Also, just because no BoP =/ good racing. Have you even watched the opening rounds? Please tell me where the good or better non-BoP racing was in those.

      • Luna

        March 24, 2017 at 5:15 pm

        Races are great and exciting. No questions. But…
        Cadillac won Rolex 24. Imsa took away 2.1mm on the restrictor and Cadillac won Sebring 23 too. So:
        1.at IMSA there are incompetent.
        2.at IMSA they are competent enough to decide the winner.
        You decide..

        • redhatch

          March 24, 2017 at 5:51 pm

          3. All of the other prototypes broke.

          …which is what actually happened.

          • Luna

            March 24, 2017 at 6:57 pm

            The fact that all other prototypes broke does not justify the 2.1mm reduction on restrictor. That means that at the Rolex 25 the BoP was wrong. Very wrong.

  7. SE30ASport

    March 24, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    I’m glad the Multimatic/Riley Mk30 turned out ok looking, because that Ave/Riley…meh. I mean, up close in the paddock and on track the car is proportioned well and looks alright…as long as you don’t look at it head on. Just seems like something’s not right there. It fits the Riley ethos of keeping things simple, but maybe TOO simple this time.

  8. JeffB

    March 24, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    While the Ave/Riley does not have the aesthetics of the Ligier, it’s boxy nose does make for a fine canvas for no compromises sponsor logos, so it’s got that going for it.

    Still, it does rather look more like the back of a car rather than a front. You really can imagine the wing on the other end without much trouble.

    Perhaps you will like this better…

    https://flic.kr/p/Tbnb5f

    • SE30ASport

      March 25, 2017 at 4:55 am

      Nicely done. It does seem to improve the visual flow considerably.

  9. FormulaFox

    March 29, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    So IMSA is okay with the idea of a car that costs half the price being able to win overall without influence from the weather?

    Yeah, I don’t see ANYONE taking issue with that sometime down the road.

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