IMSA announced Wednesday (May 3) that the LMP3 class will no longer compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship after the end of this year. Going forward, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will consist of the GTP, LMP2, GTD Pro and GTD classes.
“The LMP3 class has contributed to the growth and success of the WeatherTech Championship since 2021,” IMSA president John Doonan stated. “With that has come expanded fields at many events that can test the capacity limits we have at some IMSA tracks. We expect that growth trend to continue into 2024 and beyond, making it necessary to just have the GTP and LMP2 classes for Prototypes with GTD Pro and GTD classes for Grand Touring (GT) competing together going forward.”
In the 2023 season, the LMP3 teams will contest seven of the 11 rounds. These consist of the four Michelin Endurance Cup races, plus the sprint races at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Road America and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Rolex 24 at Daytona does not count towards the season-long championship, but does count for the Michelin Endurance Cup championship. The class is currently in the middle of a three-month break after Sebring.
While the statement above about car count could technically refer to a number of events, Doonan is specifically referencing this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. Back then, entries for approximately 72 cars were submitted for the race. IMSA was forced to use a system to determine who would get into the race based on who had already declared their intentions to run full-time, run the Michelin Endurance Cup races, or who had previously run in the 24-hour classic. Those who were rejected were placed onto a reserve list, similar to what the Automobile Club d’Ouest (ACO) does for Le Mans. Ultimately, none of the 61 teams whose entries were accepted withdrew.
The LMP3 class at Daytona made up nine of the 61 teams that competed in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, edging out a number of strong teams in other classes that had submitted entries. For example, TF Sport had entered an LMP2 car under the Racing Team Turkey banner that included former Formula 2 racer Juan Manuel Correa.
That entry was rejected. This is a full-time team in the European Le Mans Series’ LMP2 Pro-Am class that claimed the overall victory in the ELMS season opener at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya less than two weeks ago. Current Williams Formula 1 driver Logan Sargeant drove for the team as recently as 2021.
2024 is expected to see some more entry growth. Both Ford and Chevrolet will be fielding new GT3 cars. Lamborghini will be racing their currently unnamed LMDh prototype part-time, while additional customer GTP cars are possible.
The announcement does not mean the end for the LMP3 class in IMSA competition. Starting in 2024, the only IMSA-sanctioned series with LMP3 cars will be the IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge. LMP3 cars will remain the top class there through 2026 at minimum. As a result, LMP3 cars will no longer run endurance events and will no longer have driver changes since VP Racing SportsCar Challenge events are 45-minute sprint races.
About the author
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.
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