IMSA has set the driver lineup requirements for the LMP3 class in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship along with changes to testing and qualifying formats for the 2021 season.
Confirmed in an updated ‘State of the Sport’ address by IMSA President John Doonan on Thursday, each LMP3 entry must have at least one Bronze-rated driver, of any age, or a Silver-rated driver under the age of 30 paired with either a Silver or Gold driver of any age.
It is a merger of IMSA’s two proposed LMP3 lineups that it had floated to teams last month.
A Bronze with either a Silver or Gold or a Bronze/Silver that’s under the age of 25 paired with a Silver/Gold over the age of 25 were suggested as initial possibilities.
The two-driver combinations will be valid for all races other than the Michelin Endurance Cup rounds, which will see three drivers per car for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and Motul Petit Le Mans and four-driver lineups for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
A maximum of one Gold-rated driver is permitted in each lineup for those races, with Platinum drivers prohibited altogether.
If opting for a young Silver driver for the Am requirement of the lineup, that driver must be under the age of 30 prior to Jan. 31, 2021.
While yet to be released, the drive-time structure will be consistent with the 2020 LMP2 and GTD sporting regulations.
IMSA has also confirmed three different chassis eligibility options for the class, instead of the original two.
In addition to running the new-gen LMP3 cars with the latest-generation Nissan-based VK56 engine or option to upgrade a current LMP3 car with a new engine, teams can also opt to utilize an upgraded VK50+ powerplant instead of the VK56.
While private testing allocations will remain unchanged for the DPi, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona classes, testing will be unrestricted for LMP2 and LMP3 teams, although subject to IMSA approval.
Additionally, Bronze-rated GTD drivers may have unlimited test days, also upon approval by the sanctioning body.
LMP2, LMP3 and GTD teams, meanwhile, will be eligible to test at a circuit up to seven days prior to the last day of official on-track activity for up to two WeatherTech Championship events.
Those days would only be eligible for teams with Bronze or Silver-rated drivers under the age of 30.
The current testing blackout of 14 days prior to each event for DPi and GTLM teams remains unchanged.
Two-Segment Qualifying Dropped for LMP2, LMP3
IMSA’s plan to offer a two-segment qualifying format for all of its Pro-Am classes has been abandoned, with it set to only go ahead only in GTD next year.
LMP2 and LMP3 qualifying will consist of single 15-minute sessions, where the Bronze-rated driver (or Silver under 30 for LMP3) must qualify and start the race.
Points will be awarded for qualifying.
The format for GTD remains unchanged and will see the team’s Bronze or Silver-rated driver set the car’s starting position followed by a second session for the pro driver that will award qualifying points.
A new set of tires must be used in the second segment of qualifying, with both sets of tires considered part of the team’s event tire allocation.
While DPi and LMP2 teams must start on their qualifying tires, GTLM teams may start the race on new tires or a different tire compound from qualifying.