IMSA has confirmed the addition of LMP3 machinery to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as a fifth class beginning in 2021.
Announced during the sanctioning body’s virtual ‘State of the Sport’ address on Wednesday afternoon, LMP3 cars will take part in a six-race points-paying championship.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona will be a standalone event for the class, although still counting towards the Michelin Endurance Cup.
As revealed by Sportscar365 last month, IMSA had been evaluating the addition of the class to the series as an effort to bolster the prototype grid.
Two options for LMP3 driver combinations are currently under consideration, either with a Bronze-rated driver mandate and one Silver or Gold-rated driver or a Bronze/Silver driver that’s under the age of 25 as well as one Silver/Gold driver over the age of 25.
Platinum-rated drivers are prohibited in the LMP3 class.
In addition to the Rolex 24, LMP3 cars will be on the grid for the WeatherTech Championship races at Sebring, Mid-Ohio, Watkins Glen, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
IMSA Prototype Challenge, which had been the exclusive home for LMP3 in IMSA, will retain a six-race championship next year, which will all be 1 hour and 45 minutes in length.
New-generation LMP3 cars will be eligible in the WeatherTech Championship, with a mix of new and previous-gen in IPC with separate classes.
Ligier Automotive, Ginetta, Duqueine Automotive (formerly Norma) and ADESS all hold licenses from the ACO to build LMP3 machinery to the updated regulations that debuted this year in Europe although only the Ligier JS P320 and the Duqueine D-08 have taken part in races so far.
The LMP3 driver champion in IPC will receive a $100,000 IMSA credit applicable toward entry fees for any 2022 WeatherTech Championship event.
The award will be divided equally among both drivers if there are co-champions.
Platinum Drivers Permitted in Full-Season LMP2 Entries
The LMP2 class will continue with six-round season, excluding the eligible Rolex 24 at Daytona, with Platinum-rated drivers now able to contest the full season.
Previously, a Platinum driver was only eligible for the Rolex 24 as a fourth driver.
A Bronze-rated driver mandate will remain for the class season-long, with the Bronze LMP2 class champion earning the Jim Trueman Award and an invitation to participate in the 2022 Le Mans 24 Hours.