As first revealed by Sportscar365, there will be an all-new LMP3 championship in China beginning next year, with the launch of the FRD LMP3 Series.
Supported by the ACO, the new championship will kick off in May, in a five-round calendar, marking the first prototype sprint race series in China and serving as a stepping stone to the Asian Le Mans Series.
Teams will enter two cars each, with one driven by a Chinese national and the other by an international professional driver. All cars under ACO LMP3 regulations will be eligible to compete.
A number of leading Asian sports car squads have already committed to the series, including KCMG, Eurasia and Craft-Bamboo Racing.
“Never has there been a sprint prototype championship in China and this will make for the most exciting and unique racing series in the region,” said series founder Kenneth Ma.
“FRD will introduce a higher standard of international racing to China and raise the sport to new heights with this one of a kind platform.”
The 2017 champions will receive free use of a Ligier JS P2 car, as well as a free entry into the 2017-2018 Asian Le Mans Series. with a Ligier JS P3 car also being provided for the runner-up, to also be used in the series.
Should that team end up winning the 2017-18 Asian LMS title, they would also be provided with a LMP2 car by Onroak Automotive to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, that will include running costs, as well as a free entry.
“The ACO… created LMP3 to keep developing prototype racing and to make its worldwide prototype ladder even stronger,” said Asian LMS Managing Director Cyrille Taesch Wahlen.
“LMP3 is the perfect product to start prototype racing and it now allows teams to compete in Europe, the USA and Asia.
“After the Asian Le Mans Series and the Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup, the FRD LMP3 series will now also offer China the excitement of prototype racing and an additional opportunity for Chinese teams and drivers to rise up the ACO pyramid on their way to Le Mans 24H.”
Four events will be held in China, with a round in Sepang set to support the Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup.
The FRD LMP3 Series will feature 60-minute sprint race that will be held on Sunday after two practices, and one qualifying session on Saturday.
2017 FRD LMP3 Series Schedule:
May 14 – Shanghai
June 4 – Zhejiang
July 23 – Sepang
Aug. 27 – Shanghai
Sept. 17 – Zhuhai