While the future of the platform has yet to be decided in North America, Starworks Motorsport has already committed to the LMP3 category, with plans to enter the European Le Mans Series later this year.
Team principal Peter Baron confirmed to Sportscar365 that his Florida-based team is preparing to contest the final two ELMS rounds of the season at Paul Ricard and Estoril, ahead of a full-season campaign in 2016.
“We have people, funding and a program in place to do the last two races of the year,” Baron told Sportscar365. “Everybody’s excited to go to Europe.
“The [U.S.] Dollar to Euro is the right amount right now and the tracks are good and something different.”
Baron said he’s evaluating both the Ligier JS P3 and Riley AR-2 as chassis options and already has drivers in place for the effort.
“There’s so many [drivers] over here that don’t know what they like or don’t like about IMSA or PWC,” he said.
“I think a lot of people that left IMSA and went to PWC [this year] are beating their head against the wall with some goofiness over there.
“To try something different… you can sell somebody on the sizzle of Paul Ricard, Imola and Estoril, it’s easy.”
The team is no stranger to success overseas, having claimed LMP2 honors in the 24 Hours of Le Mans en route to the FIA WEC class title in 2012.
“We have equipment in place and crew ready to go,” Baron said. “Half of our crew is European.
“A European program is me and a couple of guys [from the U.S.] go over and meet up some of our crew already over there.”
With the arrival of the LMP3 platform and drive-time rules that mandate considerable seat time for Bronze or Silver-rated drivers, Baron said it’s been an easy sell to customers.
“The beauty of the ELMS is that with a four-hour race and two-and-a-half hours of [minimum] Silver drive time, you can have two Silvers split the bill,” he said.
“Running a P3 car over there for the five races and split the budget two ways, have a pro and be competitive, that’s an easy thing to go do.”
Baron is hopeful to use the LMP3 program as a stepping stone into a re-entry into the LMP2 ranks in 2017, either in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship or competing overseas.
“It’s important to get our presence back in Europe and get our name back out there,” he said.
“We’re still trying to get a P2 car for next year but the whole world is in this dangling suspense right now [over the regulations].”
With dwindling interest in Prototype Challenge, which will continue with the same Oreca FLM09 chassis next year in the TUDOR Championship, Baron admitted his team’s focus could be outside the U.S. in 2016.
“I could see the possibility of the only program that we can secure is European-based next year,” he said. “That’s an entire possibility.”
Baron said he has meetings with both Riley Technolgoies and Onroak Automotive this weekend at Watkins Glen, with a final decision on the chassis to be made in the coming weeks.