When the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda returns to Sebring this week, it will do so celebrating an historic landmark for the series: the one-year anniversary of the debut of its highly anticipated and now-popular LMP3 class.
A record 18 LMP3s are featured on the entry list, alongside an additional nine MPC entries.
ENTRY LIST: Sebring
Among the LMP3 entries is the No. 4 ANSA Motorsports Ligier JS P3 of Dean Baker and Zacharie Robichon.
ANSA swept the debut weekend for LMP3 at Sebring one year ago and also won the IPC inaugural season-opening race at Daytona in January with IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge driver Roman De Angelis at the wheel.
Team owner Alain Nadal has been pleased with the development of the LMP3 class and is even looking at adding a second car later in the season.
“The cars themselves are really cool, they are very attractive and so is the price point,” he said. “It’s also a great ladder for Prototype racing to go from P3 to P2 or P1.
“I think everyone is looking forward to next weekend, even though I know the competition will be tough with some great LMP2 drivers running.”
Among the teams looking to prevent ANSA from starting the season 2-for-2 is Daytona runner-up Forty 7 Motorsports with Austin McCusker returning in the team’s No. 47 Norma M30 alongside co-driver TJ Fisher.
The team also will debut a second entry, the No. 74 Norma M30 for Anthony Simone and a TBA second driver.
Defending class team champion P1 Motorsports returns with three Ligier JS P3s on the entry list, as does Extreme Speed Motorsports.
The team is one of three on the entry list that fans of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype class may recognize, with Performance Tech Motorsports and JDC MotorSports also each fielding a Ligier JS P3.
A recently announced partnership between Performance Tech Motorsports and Charles Wicht Racing also put the wheels in motion for 2017 WeatherTech Championship PC champion Pato O’Ward to make his LMP3 debut at Sebring in the No. 7 Ligier JS P3 alongside Leo Lamelas for what will be the start of a full-season campaign under the Charles Wicht banner.
Rounding out the LMP3 entry list is K2R Motorsports which will field a pair of Ligier JS P3s, and single entries from Gilbert LMP3 Racing, Ave Motorsports with its Ave-Riley AR2 and a new entry from Baker Racing.
Nine MPC Entries for Sebring
The MPC class also touts a strong entry list led by four additional entries for Performance Tech, including the No. 11 Elan DP02 for Daytona winner Dr. Robert Masson and the No. 18 for 17-year-old Wyatt Schwab, who scored the class pole at Daytona in his first start.
Series regular Eurosport Racing returns with two entries for Jon Brownson and Dr. Tim George, who recently took part in an IMSA-sanctioned test at Sebring.
During the test, George noted how much he enjoys the series’ new endurance style format and the opportunities it provides for younger driver looking to make the move up the IMSA ladder.
“It’s good to have that endurance style format for the drivers and teams, they really get into that mentality that it’s not a sprint and you have to be more strategic,” he said.
“I love to see two classes as well because that’s even more preparation for the WeatherTech Championship.”
ONE Motorsports returns with a pair of entries, while Wolf Motorsports looks to carry the momentum from a podium finish at Daytona with Bart Wolf and Tazio Ottis in the team’s No. 24 entry.
All MPC teams have even more incentive this weekend at Sebring and throughout the remainder of the season thanks to Season-End Championship Award announced last week for the class.