IMSA Will Phase LMP3 Out of Top-Level Competition
IMSA is eliminating the LMP3 class from its top category for 2024, ending a three-year run with three prototype classes and reducing the total number of classes on the grid from five back to four.
The third prototype class was introduced in 2021 as a measure to grow the grid with a more affordable pro-am prototype separate from the faster, more expensive LMP2. The idea always seemed a bit redundant, and it only became more strange as LMP3 cars became known for their odd top speeds in traffic and the cautions caused by mistakes from the funded drivers the class was meant to attract.
Over the course of the past three seasons, those mistakes have made LMP3 synonymous with unnecessary crashes. In one particularly high-profile mistake at March's 12 Hours of Sebring, a driver collided with a factory Porsche 963 under caution and substantially damaged both cars.
Although that may have helped IMSA's decision to scale back prototype classes, it is more likely that IMSA has simply decided the grid will be full enough without LMP3. LMP2 covers the same pro-am concept and the top class is now healthier than it has been in decades with the debut of the new hybrid GTP formula, LMP3 is simply no longer a necessity to fill the grid with prototypes. Removal from the top category of IMSA racing means that teams entering marquee races at Daytona, Sebring, and Road Atlanta will have one fewer class of traffic to worry about. The lightweight cars will still race on IMSA weekends alongside GT4 cars in a support series launched earlier this year.
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