After an initial season running unrestricted, MPC cars in the IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda series are set to be slowed down for 2018, in an effort to produce a larger gap in performance to the front-running LMP3 machinery.
The change comes after drivers in the Mazda-powered Elan DP02, which now serves as a secondary category, scored overall podiums in the first year under the combined LMP3-MPC formula.
MPC champion Kyle Masson earned multiple podium finishes in his Performance Tech Motorsports entry while Masters competitor Gary Gibson recorded a a 2nd place overall result at Trois Rivieres.
“The owners in IPC have discussed a desire to reduce the performance of the MPC to the LMP3 car because the MPC car has much more downforce,” Geoff Carter, IMSA’s Senior Director of Technical Regulations and Compliance told Sportscar365.
“They have better mid-corner speeds but run out of [power] at the top end. There’s an interaction issue.
“They’ve asked us to stratify the two classes. We’re working on what that looks like at Daytona and have a plan for that. That will be easy to fix there.”
Carter said the new measures will be put into place in December’s IMSA-sanctioned test at Daytona, which will be open to IPC machinery, as well as cars from the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The two-day test will mark the first official running for a LMP3 car on the Daytona high banks ahead of its season-opener in January, on the Roar Before the 24 weekend.
“It will be our first visibility there with them before the first event at the Roar,” Carter said. ‘We want to make sure the LMP3 remains use of the homologated gear stack.
“We’ve done our initial tests a few weeks ago so we’re going to finalize the gear stack there. It looks like the long stack.”
IPC moves into an endurance format beginning next year, with single 1 hour and 45-minute races over six weekends.