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PRESS RELEASE/LMP3 Cup Australia – Photo: LMP3 Road to Le Mans @ Le Mans (Darin Mandy)
2019 will see the arrival of LMP3 prototype racing in Australia thanks to an agreement between the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, (ACO) and LMP3 Cup Australia Pty Ltd, with the agreement and support of the Confederation of Motor Sport (CAMS).
The 2019 Cup will be a six round series, with each round featuring two x 1 hour races.
Utilising the FIA driver seedings, and running ACO sprint cup format regulations, each car will be required to run at least one silver or bronze rated driver. Higher rated drivers, up to platinum, will be permitted to run as co-drivers. This allows lesser experienced drivers to team up with more experienced professional drivers to learn and develop their skills during a season.
Calendar details will be confirmed at a later date as exact dates for the Australian motorsport calendars for 2019 have yet to be finalised. However, we can confirm that the majority of the series will feature on the Shannons Nationals program, racing on premium tracks such The Bend, Phillip Island and Sydney Motorsport Park. Other exciting race events will make up the remainder of the series.
Series dates have been specifically selected so as to not clash with the Asian Le Mans Series racing calendar, even allowing for shipping transit between regions. This is by design to allow teams from both regions to compete in each series, adding an element of excitement as well as increasing the business case for teams.
The Series will feature a broadcast package that while still being negotiated, aims to be a mix of both live streaming and television. The details will be confirmed once the calendar is finalised.
The LMP3 class was established by the ACO in 2015 to create a global base for sports prototype racing cars and provide a pathway to the World endurance Championship (WEC) featuring the internationally famous 24 Hours of Le Mans race at its pinnacle.
Eligible cars for the LMP3 Cup Australia will be homologated LMP3 machines from the ACO designated constructors – Adess AG, Ginetta, Ligier (Onroak Automotive), and Norma. All cars incorporate a carbon Fibre monocoque chassis with FIA approved safety standards. The powertrain is engineered by Oreca and features a Nissan 420 bhp normally aspirated 5 litre V8 engine, and an X-Trac gearbox.
With such a specification LMP3 cars have the potential to showcase the fastest racing of any Australian championship, considering lap times compared to other categories at international circuits.
The cars have received much praise from both professional and amateur drivers for providing the power and aerodynamic downforce required to give a thrilling driving experience and being the perfect entry point to this level of world standard, top tier sportscar racing.
New cars (complete with engine) are cost capped at €206,500, and spare parts are also cost capped to ensure value for competitors. The result is incredibly low purchase and running costs for cars at this performance level.
Since the ACO introduced the category in 2015, over 150 LMP3 cars have been produced and compete in a dozen different series, among them the Asian Le Mans Series, European Le Mans Series, Michelin Le Mans Cup, Road to Le Mans, LMP3 British Cup, V de V, lMSA Prototype Challenge, Gulf 12 Hours and the FRD LMP3 Series.
The two most popular chassis manufacturers have already been negotiations with partners in this market and have committed resources to the Australian series. This will encompass not only cars but also spare parts support in logistic hubs and trackside at events.
LMP3 technical specifications:
Minimum weight – 900 kg
Fuel tank capacity – 100 litres
Engine – Nissan V8
Gearbox – 6 forward gears + reverse
Brakes – Steel discs / max diameter 14″ (355 mm)
Overall length – 4650mm (including rear wing)
Overall width – 1900 mm
Wheels and tyres – Max width 13″/ Max diameter 28″
Teams and drivers will fight for either the outright championship, or an amateur trophy for all silver/ bronze driver line ups.
The Outright Championship winning team will receive a free entry to the Asian Le Mans Series for the following season.
Organisers have already received significant interest in the category in response to the speculation of its introduction. There have been a large contingent of Australian and New Zealand drivers who have formerly needed to travel overseas to race these amazing cars. One of our aims as a category is to provide a strong local championship to allow these drivers to race much closer to home. This will result in a boost to the Australian motorsport landscape rather than threatening other existing categories.
Series organisers are also aiming to encourage entries from Asian and other international teams who wish to come to Australasia to experience some of our fantastic circuits normally out of their reach.
The Asian Le Mans Series connection:
The Asian Le Mans Series is expecting its strongest series so far with 20 combined LMP cars already entered for the 2018/19 season. The Australian LMP3 Cup will provide a direct pathway for Australian teams and drivers to compete in the Asian Le Mans Series and prove themselves on the regional stage. There will be a reciprocal pathway for teams and drivers from Asia, Europe and the USA to come to Australia and race with us in equivalent machinery.
The winner of the 2019 Season will receive a free entry to the 2019/20 Asian Le Mans Series in the LMP3 class. There they will fight for a money can’t buy invitation to the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2020, awarded to the LMP3 Class winner.
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