GT CUP LAUNCHES PROTOTYPE SERIES
Bute Motorsport’s new Prototype Cup series has attracted factory support from Ligier parent company Onroak Automotive, and will hold its first race later this year.
The Prototype Cup will run for LMP3 machinery with a separate class for Cn-spec sportscars. A two-hour pilot race will be held alongside the final rounds of the GT Cup on the Snetterton 300 Circuit on October 8/9. A full sixround schedule including Silverstone, Donington Park, Brands Hatch and Spa-francorchamps is planned for 2017.
United Autosports, which recently became the UK agent for the Ligier JS P3 car, is the first team to commit to the series, fielding a minimum of two cars. Other entries are expected to include the new Ave-riley LMP3 car from UK agent Murphy Prototypes.
Bute Motorsport’s Phil Boland said: “We’ve worked so hard to bring this together and it’s really got a head of steam. We’ll run the pilot race this year to spread the message that this is happening and then a full series next season.
“LMP3 is one of the fastestgrowing forms of motorsport in the world right now and the level of interest we’ve had so far has been huge. Having the endorsement of a brand like Ligier and Onroak will only boost that.” Onroak Automotive’s Christophe Profit said: “LMP3 is the fastest selling product for Ligier. The car only ran for the first time six months ago and we’ve sold 43 chassis already. Our customers need places to race these cars and a national series like this is the perfect answer. “There are only so many grid slots in the European and Asian Le Mans Series [which currently cater for LMP3], and our customers naturally want as much racing as they can. A series like this widens the market for LMP3 significantly.” Onroak will provide spares and technical support for each round, as well as promote the series to its customers.
United Autosports’ co-founder Richard Dean said: “This is a very exciting concept because the UK has never seen a series like this. It’s real Le Mans prototypes being run on UK tracks. It will help make LMP3 even more accessible as drivers can gain additional mileage and the cars don’t cost much to maintain over a season, so will easily cope with the extra mileage.”
Bute motorsport head Marc Haynes added: “One of the important factors of the Prototype Cup is that we’ll have very strict technical control over the cars. LMP3 cars will have to run to ACO specification and CN cars to FIA homologation and that should make it very, very close racing.”
United Autosports will run two Ligier JS P3s Profit: Ligier backing