IMSA and IMSA-owned Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) will launch a new six-event, endurance-format series for current and previous-generation Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) race cars beginning in 2024.
The series will be known as the HSR Prototype Challenge presented by IMSA, and events will be operated by HSR with oversight from IMSA – the license rights-holder for LMP3 racing in the United States and Canada.
“LMP3 continues to be a valuable IMSA platform for a variety of reasons,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “It provides an entry-level opportunity to prototype racing for drivers, teams and crew members and can be a catalyst for a career in endurance sports car racing. As part of the IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge, which utilizes current-generation LMP3 machines, competitors are able to hone their racecraft in single-driver, 45-minute sprint races.
“Continuing to provide an endurance racing format is important to IMSA and also LMP3 competitors and stakeholders. It is a logical progression to incorporate LMP3 endurance races into our HSR platform, where many previous-generation LMP3 cars already compete. We believe the HSR Prototype Challenge presented by IMSA will be a popular addition to HSR event weekends in 2024 and beyond.”
Each event will have an endurance racing format, ranging in length from 90 minutes to three hours, with two classes of competition. LMP3-1 will include current EVO cars, with the LMP3-2 class using previous-generation LMP3 cars. A minimum field target size of 20 cars will be required for standalone races, and if not achieved, LMP3 cars will be integrated into the existing HSR Group 6 (prototype) races as they have been in recent years.
The six-event calendar opens with a two-hour race on the weekend of March 8-10 at Sebring International Raceway as part of the HSR Spring Fling event, followed by a two-hour event at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta as part of The Mitty event weekend on April 25-28. The first half of the season concludes with a 90-minute race as part of the HSR’s Classic 6 Hour at Watkins Glen International on the weekend of June 6-9.
The series returns to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta to open the second half of the season with a two-hour race during the Fall Historics on Sept. 19-22, followed by the penultimate round – another 90-minute race – as part of the Classic 24 Hour at Daytona on Oct. 30-Nov. 3. The season concludes at Sebring with a three-hour event as part of the Classic 12 Hour on Dec. 4-8.
“The addition of the HSR Prototype Challenge presented by IMSA feels right on schedule as a logical next step in IMSA’s ownership of HSR,” said HSR President David Hinton. “Today’s news builds on the initial offering of four LMP3 events on HSR weekends that were unveiled in IMSA’s annual schedule announcement in August, and that is in direct response to competitors in both the IMSA and HSR paddocks looking for additional and longer races.
“At the same time, adding LMP3 to HSR events will not take away any track time or alter the schedule for our existing HSR classes and championships. It is actually a benefit as all of the on-track competing series on these six weekends fall under the IMSA and HSR umbrella. We are all working together as opposed to sharing a weekend with an outside group monopolizing the race schedule and available track time.”
All cars in the HSR Prototype Challenge presented by IMSA will ride on Michelin tires and use VP Racing Fuels. Ligier and Duqueine plan to have representatives onsite for technical support at each event. Each race will feature a timed pit stop. Teams will have the option of one- or two-driver lineups with no minimum drive times.