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RSS ACO announces new LMP3 class for Le Mans prototype racing [w/videos]

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Filed under: Motorsports, Coupe, Racing

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Starting a career in formula racing? There's a whole dedicated ladder of feeder series from Formula Renault to GP2. Ditto rally, Indy, NASCAR... even Dakar-style rally raid has the Land Rover Defender Challenge. But sports endurance racing is a bit more tricky. You can start out in GT cars, but if your goal is to get into Le Mans prototypes, even the second-tier LMP2 sets the bar for admission pretty high. That's why the Automobile Club de l'Ouest - the French motorsport sanctioning body that governs Le Mans and its various associated series - has just announced the new LMP3 category.

Simultaneously launched at the Red Bull Ring in Austria and the Inje Autopia in South Korea, the new LMP3 class is set to take part in the European and Asian Le Mans Series (both of which already include LMP2 but not LMP1 prototypes) starting next year. No plans were announced, however, for the United SportsCar Championship that runs in North America with its own class system including Daytona Prototypes and LMP2s, as well as Prototype Challenge racers that could foreseeably also be replaced by this new class.

The formula calls for a similar form as the higher-level prototypes, with a carbon chassis featuring a closed cockpit with longitudinal shark fin and FIA safety certification, to be built by any constructor that cares to participate. The width will be the same as an LMP1 or LMP2, but the length will be about six inches shorter and curb weight in the 1,900- to 2,000-pound range.

Though yet to be confirmed, all LMP3s will use the same V8 engine putting out about 420 horsepower with a Magneti Marelli engine management system and race support provided by the venerated racing outfit Oreca. Wheels will be similar to those used in the Porsche Cup, the whole package costing no more than 195,000 euros ($264k) with a running cost for an entire ELMS seasons coming in around 350-400k euros (about $473-540k). The cars are expected to be around two seconds per lap quicker on most circuits than an LM GTE racer. Head on down below for four video interviews with ACO and series officials and the full press release.

Continue reading ACO announces new LMP3 class for Le Mans prototype racing [w/videos]

ACO announces new LMP3 class for Le Mans prototype racing [w/videos] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 21 Jul 2014 08:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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