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IMSA Undecided on LMP3 Future

IMSA evaluating feedback from LMP3 test, decision yet to be made…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

IMSA has yet to decide on the possible integration of the LMP3 platform into the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, following an initial test with the entry level prototype last month at Watkins Glen.

Nearly a dozen drivers turned laps in the British prototype over the course of a single-day test, which according to TUDOR Championship Series Manager Geoff Carter, provided valuable feedback in the decision making process for 2016 and beyond.

“We got feedback from a lot of the people that drove it,” Carter told Sportscar365. “They sent us their feedback. We’re going to spend some time this weekend talking to them individually and go from there.

“People have different ideas of why like it or don’t like it, so we’re just trying to figure out what that means.”

One of the biggest takeaways from the test was the car’s power deficit, with it having lapped eight to nine seconds slower than the current Prototype Challenge machines at Watkins Glen.

While the 5.0-liter Nissan V8 powerplant was restricted to 425 horsepower for durability purposes, Carter felt the times could have dropped if they had more time on track to work on the setup.

“It was a new track, a new car and new philosophy,” he said. “If we would have had a full day to baseline the car and run our guys through on Tuesday, things may have been a little different.

“Given the weather, everyone’s schedules, and how it went, we really just wanted to give everyone a first look and see how it went.”

Carter said a significant increase in power may not be the solution for the platform, should it be integrated into the championship.

“It depends on how they fit in,” he said. “If we try to match the PC performance, it’s obviously going to have to gain some performance.

“But if it isn’t going against the PC, then you have the opportunity to leave it on the global platform, as is.”

Carter said a timeline has not been established, as the sanctioning body is waiting for additional machinery, such as the new Ligier JS P3 and Riley-Ave AR-2 to come online, before making a final decision on LMP3.

IMSA is working to secure dates in November and December for further testing with GT3-spec cars, which could also be used to evaluate other LMP3 machinery.

“[The Ginetta was only] one of a few different constructors, so it was our first look,” Carter said. We like the car, we just haven’t been able to get enough input to make a decision yet because there’s so many moving parts.

“There’s so many different pieces because how will the GTLM [cars] perform, and what’s the performance window of GT3?

“We just have to gather some more information, keep testing and see what the actual performance window is going to be.”

Carter reiterated that all options remain on the table.

“I think all of the options are open, from [not going with LMP3] to how we’d introduce it next year or in 2017,” he said.

“It’s a really cool car, we just have to figure out how and if we’d fit it in. I think there’s a home for it in North America, and hopefully it’s with us. We just have to figure it out.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John


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