FRD Motorsports has announced a brand new premier prototype championship for China. The company hopes that the introduction of a LMP3 (Le Mans Prototype 3) Series will raise the quality of motorsport in the region and ‘create a true stepping stone for young Chinese drivers to the 24 Hours of Le Mans’. The FRD LMP3 Series, supported by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), will launch in May 2017 as a five-round format that will be managed and executed to the ‘highest international standards’.
Teams will enter two cars, with each car being driven by a pair of drivers; one international professional and one Chinese national rising star. FRD states that in doing so, it will ‘create the highest calibre motorsport competition China has ever seen and guarantees the development of the nation’s most talented young racers’.
Currently four major Asian motorsport teams have confirmed to join the inaugural season. KCMG, Eurasia Motorsport, S&D Motorsports and Craft-Bamboo Racing will field two cars each in the hopes of claiming the maiden title. FRD has also announced a comprehensive rewards package, including ‘one of the most attractive championship prizes of any motorsport contest in the region and huge incentives for the most successful team and drivers of the competition’.
The championship winners of the FRD LMP3 Series will receive free use of a Ligier JS P2 LMP2 car as well as free entry into the Asian Le Mans Series for the 2017-2018 season. A Ligier JS P3 LMP3 car will also be provided to the 1st runner up to participate in the 2017-2018 Asian Le Mans Series.
If the winner of the 2017-2018 Asian Le Mans series is the FRD LMP3 Series champion, they will be provided with free entry to the infamous 24 Hours of Le Mans with a Ligier JS P2 LMP2 car and running costs provided by Ligier’s builder, Onroak Automotive.
The five round format will see four events held in China, in addition to one in Malaysia that will support the Asian Le Mans Series. The series will run a 60 minute sprint race that will be held on Sunday after two practices, and one qualifying session on Saturday.
“Never has there been a sprint prototype championship in China and this will make for the most exciting and unique racing series in the region,” explained Cyrille Taesch, managing director of the Asian Le Mans Series. “FRD will introduce a higher standard of international racing to China and raise the sport to new heights with this one of a kind platform. With one compulsory professional international driver and one Chinese race car driver per team, this will ensure the highest quality competition Asia has ever seen. With the support of Asian Le Mans and the ACO, the opportunities for the winning driver and team are exceptional and will allow them to compete against the best in the world at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”