Longtime Porsche entrant Kelly-Moss Road and Race has announced plans to join the new-look IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda series this year with Colin Thompson behind the wheel of the team’s Norma M30 LMP3 car for the full season.
The season-opening race at Sebring will be the the car’s competition debut, and KMR’s chassis is, at present, the only extant version of the car anywhere in the world.
The team took part in the first official test for the brand-new Norma in France, giving Thompson a chance to sample the car alongside Romain Dumas, who gave the Norma its first shakedown in February.
For Thompson, the move to rejoin KMR marks something of a homecoming after racing for the squad early in his career, including championship-winning seasons in 2014 and 2015 in IMSA GT3 Cup and Pirelli World Challenge GT Cup respectively.
Most recently, Thompson contested the 2016 World Challenge championship in the GT class for K-PAX Racing.
The 23-year-old Pennsylvanian said he is excited to get a taste of prototype machinery and to be reunited with his old team.
“The IMSA Prototype Challenge championship is going to be completely transformed this year with the addition of the LMP3 cars, and I cannot wait for the first race in Sebring,” said Thompson.
“The Norma is really an incredible car, and for me as a driver I’m very excited to be moving into a machine with this kind of downforce and performance. And to be doing it with [KMR team owner] Jeff [Stone] and everyone at Kelly-Moss is even better.
“This is a great group so I’m very happy to be a part of this program with Kelly-Moss.”
The team had several choices of LMP3 chassis to pick from, but after doing their research the Madison, Wis.-based outfit elected to go with the Norma.
“The Norma is really an exceptional car,” Stone said. “The quality is just incredible and that was very clear at the test.
“We did a lot of research about the different LMP3 manufacturers and went through our due diligence and testing to make the most informed decision we could.
“Having the only Norma M30 in the world, we are taking a pretty big risk of course but even though this car is the newest to the market, I believe it will rise to the top quickly and possibly even be an advantage.”
The new program will operate in conjunction with the team’s IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge operation, which will be fielding Jake Eidson.