A new Australian-based championship for LMP3 machinery will launch next year, with the formation of LMP3 Cup Australia.
The ACO-licensed series will be made up of six rounds, with each containing a pair of one-hour sprint races.
It comes following an agreement between the ACO and LMP3 Cup Australia Pty Ltd, with support from local governing body CAMS.
The series aims to be a “direct pathway” to competing in the Asian Le Mans Series, as well as a “reciprocal pathway” for LMP3 teams from elsewhere to race in Australia, with the champion in next year’s inaugural season set to be awarded a full-time entry into the 2019-20 ALMS season.
Additionally, series organizers will work to avoid date clashes with the Asian series, to enable teams to cross-compete.
While a schedule has yet to be announced, the series expects to follow much of the Shannons Nationals program, which includes circuits such as The Bend, Phillip Island and Sydney Motorsport Park.
“The concept of fast, great sounding cars that are cost effective to run has been so successful around the world and it is so exciting to bring it to Australia,” said series organizer Josh Hunt.
“We have seen so many Australian drivers travel overseas to compete in LMP3 recently, so now LMP3 Cup Australia gives those drivers a place to compete in Australia, whilst also giving many more drivers the opportunity to progress to Le Mans and prototype racing.”
LMP3 Cup Australia joins other prototype championships such as IMSA Prototype Challenge, British LMP3 Cup and China Endurance Series as an ACO-licensed series for the LMP3 platform.
“The cars, style of racing, and the organization, combined with some of Australia’s most iconic race tracks should be an exciting prospect for both professional and gentlemen drivers,” said ACO President Pierre Fillon. “We are delighted at the prospect of seeing LMP3 cars racing in Australia.
“Through the introduction of the LMP3 Cup in Australia we hope to see more Australian drivers racing with us, and potentially we could see an Australian team racing at the highest level globally.”
In accordance with ACO sprint race protocol, each entry will be required to include at least one FIA Bronze or Silver-rated driver, with Gold and Platinum-rated drivers permitted.
A broadcast package, including live streaming and television, is also planned.