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IMSA Closing on Test, Determining Potential Viability for LMP3

IMSA closing on LMP3 test as first step in involving the new class…

Photo: Nissan

Photo: Nissan

While not officially confirmed as yet, IMSA is closing on an LMP3 machinery test at Watkins Glen immediately following this year’s Sahlen’s Six Hours at the Glen.

The test would be the first opportunity for the new LMP3 chassis to run in the U.S. and gauge its viability to enter the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship for 2017 at the earliest.

According to IMSA President and COO Scott Atherton, the test would provide IMSA the feedback needed to determine where it could fit into the series platform for 2017 and beyond.

“We are working to confirm – it is currently not confirmed – because as you can imagine there are a lot of moving parts and activity,” Atherton told Sportscar365.

“Our intention is to enable our existing as well as prospective other ‘others,’ qualified ‘others,’ to sample firsthand what the LMP3 car is all about.

“Our intention right now is to have a one or possibly two-day test immediately following our Watkins Glen race.”

That test would be either June 29 or June 29-30, per sources.

The LMP3 platform could serve as a replacement for the Prototype Challenge category, or hypothetically could rank higher up within the Prototype ladder.

Ginetta is the primary LMP3 chassis constructor, however the Ligier JS P3 and Riley chassis are in the pipeline and the potential exists for a Loeb/SORA/Addess AG model, although news on the last of those has gone quiet.

There have not been any decisions made yet regarding LMP3 in IMSA, Atherton said. He is yet to see the built-up Ginetta-Nissan in person.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of people who have experienced it, including its creator in terms of the one that is out there running now, the Ginetta, and the principal of that organization in Lawrence Tomlinson,” Atherton said.

“I want to make it clear to you and to everyone that we have not arrived at any conclusions or made any decisions. This is purely exploratory.

“There’s no substitute for being able to sample something firsthand as opposed to taking someone else’s perspective on it. That is our goal.

“It’s not only to educate ourselves but also our current stakeholders who are involved in our PC category, and potentially qualified others.”

Atherton wouldn’t be pressed – yet – on whether LMP3 will be introduced to the TUDOR Championship in some capacity.

“I wouldn’t want to speculate on that at this time,” he said. “We are still in a fact-finding mode. The fact we are working to confirm this test is just part of this process.

“I wouldn’t want to give anybody false hope or mistakenly mislead over what we’re doing here.

“This is purely us trying to make sure all the decisions we make are fully educated, fully informed decisions.”

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno) is Sportscar365's North American Editor, focusing on coverage of the IMSA-sanctioned championships as well as Pirelli World Challenge. DiZinno also contributes to and other motorsports outlets. Contact Tony


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