The Automobile Club de l’Ouest will launch a new global initiative for LMP3 teams beginning next year with the formation of the LMP3 World League.
ACO President Pierre Fillon revealed the concept on Friday at Le Mans, which will incorporate all of its licensed LMP3 championships in Europe, Asia and North America and culminate with an end-of-year world final-like race at a venue on rotating continents.
Fillon said the idea spawned from the overwhelming success of the entry-level prototype platform, which has seen more than 100 cars competing in series globally today.
“The idea is to give to the competitors a sort of [challenge] with the values of the ACO, with high quality, to organize races on each continent,” Fillon told Sportscar365.
“In the U.S. it will be with our friends from IMSA. In Europe, we have already the European Le Mans Series, the Michelin Le Mans Cup, we have a series in England. There are other projects.
“In Asia, we have the Asian Le Mans Series and we have an agreement with a China [FRD] series.
“The idea is to link all these three continents.
“We will organize a final on each continent, for the best competitors of all the series on each continent, and after that we will organize a Super Final at, maybe during the winter because it is quiet.
“All of the best competitors of each continent will be invited.”
While Fillon said further details on the concept will be revealed in September, IMSA President Scott Atherton stressed it’s still early days on finalizing details of its integration into North America.
“This was a very preliminary announcement of it that sets the foundation for what could be a very interesting prospect,” Atherton told Sportscar365.
“We are unique in how the LMP3 cars fit into our IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda.
“What they are referring to is more of a standalone championship, so for us I think this would be more of a future development. A lot of details still to be established.”
IMSA CEO Ed Bennett added that no decision has been made on the potential future expansion of LMP3 under IMSA’s umbrella in the coming years while stressing that the sanctioning body is committed to the LMP3 platform for the long term.
Currently, the ACO-spec prototypes compete alongside MPC machinery in the Prototype Challenge series, which has a format unique to many other LMP3 championships in Europe and Asia.
“I think the way it started, in cooperation with the teams, trying to have a plan, it made sense to integrate it into the existing platform, making it two class,” Bennett told Sportscar365.
“Over time, the paddock with vote. We try to use our two ears more than our one month, so to the extent that there’s a desire to expand the platform, have some longer races, maybe not have just sprint race formats, we’re very open to that.”
IMSA has floated the idea of its own end-of-year race at Sebring for next year, incorporating not only LMP3 machinery but also other global specifications such as GT3, GT4 and TCR.
Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report