As the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda enters its 12th season, organisers are expecting strong grid sizes as LMP3-specifications join the list of eligable entries.
The existing open-cockpit Mazda-powered Élan DP02 cars will now be classified as Mazda Prototype Challenge, or MPC cars, and will be joined by closed-cockpit LM P3 class cars. Both the new LM P3 cars and the Mazda Prototype Challenge cars will run on tires developed exclusively for the classes by Continental, which supplies the Prototype cars in the WeatherTech Championship.
Randy Hembrey, IMSA’s senior series manager for development and single-make series, said that IMSA had been keeping a close eye on the development overseas of the LM P3 car, and is impressed with the package; more traditionally associated with endurance events.
“The engines can be run 10,000 kilometers without a rebuild,” Hembrey stated. “That’s about two and a half of our seasons.” The LM P3 cars that race in the IMSA series are eligible to run in any of the LM P3 classes in series overseas, which adds to resale value of the cars, and should appeal to foreign competitors who’d like to try their hand at racing in North America.”
Despite there being six constructors with eligable chassis designs; Ginetta (pictured), Ligier, ADESS AG, Dome, Norma and Riley Technologies, not all have submitted designs that have earned homologation from the ACO.
All homologated LM P3 cars will make their IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda debut next month at Sebring. The LM P3 cars will be running their own race separate from the MPC cars, but both classes will be on the track together. Hembrey is expecting a healthy double-digit field in both the LM P3 and MPC classes.
The thirteen round season, ending at Road Atlanta’s Petit Le Mans weekend, Oct. 4-7, will see both races streamed live at IMSA.tv, as well as new for 2017 delayed coverage on Fox Sports’ FS2.