The Automobile Club de l’Ouest today officially launched its new LMP3 class, which is set to make its debut in the European and Asian Le Mans Series in 2015.
More details on the LMP3 specifications were revealed, with confirmation that the class will mandate coupes only. A carbon chassis, metal roll bar, mandatory fin and an opening at the top of each wheel arch will be mandatory. LMP3 cars will be 15 cm shorter than the current LMP2 cars, but with the same width.
The ACO also confirmed a single, naturally aspirated V8 engine (420 HP) engine will be allowed per car per season, with the engine management system to be developed by Magnetti Marelli and to be sold by ORECA. The French company will also provide trackside service and support.
With common parts and spec tires to be used, the costs of a turn-key car should not exceed $246,000 (195,000 Euros). The costs of a new car are considerably higher than initially announced. Back in November it was said that a turn-key car could cost no more than $202,000 (150,000 Euros).
The technical regulations will be frozen for three years minimum, while the performance of the new LMP3 cars will be around 2 seconds quicker per lap than that of an GTE car on a typcal circuit.
It is expected that the running costs of a car in the European Le Mans Series should be between 350,000 and 400,000 Euros.
Onroak Automotive, SORA/Sébastien Loeb Racing, Tatuus, Riley Technologies, Norma and Juno are known to be working on LMP3 projects or have shown interest in the new category. Being an exclusive engine supplier, ORECA is not allowed to design or sell an LMP3 chassis.
CN cars will still be eligible for the 2015 and 2016 Asian Le Mans Series in addition to the LMP3s, but as of 2017 only LMP3 cars will be allowed to race in the series.