John Doonan has reaffirmed the future of the LMP3 platform within IMSA although has fallen short of confirming the category in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship beyond the 2022 season.
The ACO-based junior prototype formula, which the sanctioning body has embraced within the standalone IMSA Prototype Challenge series for a number of years, introduced LMP3 to the WeatherTech Championship this year.
It culminated with a record ten-car class entry in last weekend’s season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans.
Speaking with Sportscar365, the IMSA President said the platform has a long-term future in North America although has yet to confirm whether that will be in the WeatherTech Championship or a continued presence in IPC.
“LMP3 in WeatherTech has proven solid and we [also] have our IPC platform,” Doonan said.
“The car, from a global standpoint, is one of the best bangs for the buck in sports car racing. Across IMSA, LMP3 cars have a solid future.
“I’m super proud of what LMP3 has done for the [WeatherTech] Championship. I think the quality has been good.”
When asked when a decision will be taken on LMP3’s future in the top series, Doonan said it likely won’t come until next summer and will depend on the overall car count projections in the series heading into the LMDh era.
“I would suggest come the ‘State of the Sport’ next year we’ll have some more to say about that,” he said. “But I’m super proud of what’s been done with Ligier and Duqueine.
“We have to see what kind of commitments we’ll get across the GT categories.
“With LMDh, we’re obviously thrilled with the number of manufacturer commitments. Let’s see how many total cars that means.”
A total of 43 cars — the highest grid at Petit Le Mans since the ALMS/Grand-Am merger in 2014 — took part in the ten-hour enduro at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, in what Doonan described as an “capacity” grid for the 2.54-mile circuit.
“Maybe there’s some spaces on pit road for additional pit stalls,” he said. “But I think we’d be at a tough place to add any more transporters.
“MX-5 Cup [was] obviously here so conceivably we found a place for them. It would be tough to be honest to add more [cars].”
IMSA Monitoring Track Capacity Scenarios at 2022 Events
Doonan said IMSA is evaluating the possibility of having similar capacity grids at events next year amid LMP3 and other category’s growth in the WeatherTech Championship.
“There are situations where pit lanes at certain circuits have a cap,” he said. “We need to be super sensitive to that in terms of overall field size.
“Obviously you can see there’s no chance of another transporter in [the Road Atlanta] paddock. It’s really jammed.
“We’re excited about it but you’ve got to be sensitive to places we go where we won’t have the capacity.
“We’ve been studying that internally. There’s no caps in any particular category but we’ve done enough assessments with the promoters to say, ‘OK, how many can we fit?’
“More on that to come but there’s no specific [class] caps.”