The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will go in an expected direction next season by trimming its five-class structure to four with the reassignment of LMP3 (main image) to its former role as a formula reserved for IMSA’s developmental series.
Having been elevated to the WeatherTech Championship in 2021 as a stop-gap measure to bolster the series’ declining DPi and LMP2 fields, LMP3 has served its purpose by adding a healthy number of entries—11 cars have taken part in this year’s races—to amplify the grid.
But with the arrival of the new hybrid GTP class in 2023 which could see 10 or more cars in the field next year, and a growing interest in the LMP2 category, the need for LMP3 in IMSA’s top series has been reduced. As a result, the VP Racing SportsCar Challenge will become LMP3’s exclusive home alongside GT4 cars from 2024 onward.
Existing Pro-Am WeatherTech Championship LMP3 teams are expected to either shift up to the Pro-Am LMP2 class or shift down to VP Challenge once the new season begins in January.
“The LMP3 class has contributed to the growth and success of the WeatherTech Championship since 2021,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “With that has come expanded fields at many events that can test the capacity limits we have at some IMSA tracks. We expect that growth trend to continue into 2024 and beyond, making it necessary to just have the GTP and LMP2 classes for prototypes with GTD PRO and GTD classes for Grand Touring (GT) competing together going forward.
“We’ve already seen the promise that the VP Racing SportsCar Challenge holds through the first two event weekends. We saw a considerable increase in entries between the first race of the season at Daytona and Round 2 at Sebring, and the competition is tight. The format of two 45-minute sprint races on a weekend allows LMP3 entrants to race for overall wins while competitors in both the LMP3 and GSX classes gain valuable multiclass racing experience. It’s the best learning environment for drivers and teams looking to move up the IMSA ladder.”