On the heels of last month’s announcement of the new LMP3 class, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest is moving quickly towards the finalization of the regulations for the new-for-2015 category.
Speaking with Sportscar365, ACO Sports Director Vincent Beaumesnil stressed the urgency to provide manufacturers with the technical specifications for the new low-cost prototype formula, which will initially debut in the European and Asian Le Mans Series.
“We need to be fast,” he said. “I will have a first [working group] meeting on Wednesday with the technical delegates, which will involve manufacturers, of course. Our target is that by March, at the latest, manufacturers will be able to start the construction of their cars.”
The new class, which effectively replaces the LMPC category in Europe and Asia, will encourage multiple chassis manufacturers, although limited to a spec powertrain and single tire manufacturer to help contain costs. A turn-key car must sell for no more than $202,000 (150,000 Euros).
Beaumesnil said that other specifics, including whether the class will allow open-top designs or mandate coupes only, will be determined following further meetings with prospective manufacturers.
“We will make a list of common parts,” he said. “It will be engine for sure, and probably gearbox and electronics and things like that. Some people have expressed their interests. There will be a tender process for these parts.”
Several manufacturers have already expressed interest in creating LMP3 cars, including ORECA, OnRoak Automotive and Sora Composites, the latter which recently unveiled plans for the Pescarolo 02 Coupe, which will be initially built to FIA CN2 regulations for next year.
Beaumesnil expects between two to four constructors to commit for the first year.
While the Prototype Challenge class in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship will utilize the spec Oreca FLM09 in 2014, Beaumesnil is hopeful that the new LMP3 formula could eventually replace the aging prototype platform.
“The first step is the European Le Mans Series and Asian Le Mans Series,” he said. “I have informed our American partner and they will [monitor] what we do. It will be their decision on what they will do in the future.
“It would be probably a good thing that the car becomes global in all the [continental] series, for sure.”