GT CUP LAUNCHES PRO­TO­TYPE SERIES

Motor Sport News - - Headline News - By Rob Lad­brook

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

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