“The ap­peal of LMP3 is shin­ing through”

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - ROB LAD­BROOK

Any­body who is friends with me on Face­book or fol­lows me on Twit­ter would have been very bored of me by 1100hours last Wed­nes­day.

Af­ter months of an­tic­i­pa­tion I fi­nally got to ful­fil one of my boy­hood dreams and sam­ple a full-blooded Le Mans Pro­to­type, with huge thanks to On­roak Au­to­mo­tive and Ligier’s UK agent United Au­tosport.

The test day at Snetterton was de­signed to al­low prospec­tive LMP3 cus­tomers the chance to have a go in one of the five-litre V8-pow­ered beasts on a vir­tu­ally empty track. For drivers look­ing to do the Euro­pean Le Mans Series, or even those just cu­ri­ous about the formula.

Not only was it the cul­mi­na­tion of a dream for me, it was also prob­a­bly the most nerve-wrack­ing thing I’ve ever done. Although it could have been a toss-up as to who was ac­tu­ally more ner­vous when I went out for my first run in soak­ing wet con­di­tions – me or team boss Richard Dean on the pit wall.

The car was sub­lime and, not want­ing to give too much away due to a forth­com­ing full track test in the Ligier JS P3 in these pages, proved a sur­prise.

But the day also served to high­light one of the most ex­cit­ing new con­cepts in Bri­tish mo­tor­sport – the Pro­to­type Cup.

The class is de­signed to be a Bri­tish do­mes­tic LMP3 series and has a var­ied tar­get au­di­ence al­ready. It can cater for bud­ding Le Mans drivers mak­ing their first step on the pro­to­type lad­der, and equally to es­tab­lished LMP3 teams and drivers across the world look­ing for some ex­tra mileage be­tween ei­ther ELMS or Asian LMS rounds.

I was a scep­tic of LMP3 when it was in­tro­duced. It looked ex­pen­sive, un­nec­es­sary and – con­sid­er­ing the cars didn’t even race at Le Mans – rather point­less in truth.

Nearly two years down the line since the first Ginetta LMP3 rolled out, and how the class, and opin­ions of it, have changed.

Now it does race at Le Mans, cour­tesy of the Road to Le Mans sup­port event, and LMP3 has al­most sin­gle-hand­edly saved the for­tunes of the pre­vi­ously strug­gling ELMS, with half of the 38-car grid now sad­dled in P3s.

But can a Uk-based series work? Dean tells me P3 pow­er­trains are guar­an­teed for 10,000km – way over a to­tal sea­son in ELMS – and that be­cause the spares are price-capped, bud­gets are ac­tu­ally ri­valling, or un­der­cut­ting, GT3.

OK, LMP3 cars may not be as all-round versatile as GT3, which you can lit­er­ally race every week­end of the year some­where, but the ap­peal and value for money of LMP3 is start­ing to shine through.

Just as Bri­tish GT has thrived as the feeder to Blanc­pain GT, the scope is there for Bri­tain to have an­other pow­er­house series a few sea­sons down the line if the LMP3 growth spurt con­tin­ues.

Our man tried Ligier Lmp3,and has been con­verted

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.