Image credit: Red Firecracker for SportsCarGlobal


The 2015 Le Mans-type endurance season saw the introduction of the new category of cars created by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the LMP3s. This prototype opens the door to the endurance pyramid created by the ACO, and it enables new teams and young drivers as well as gentlemen drivers who want to race in endurance to begin in prototypes. The philosophy behind this car is to reduce budgetary, technical, driving and running constraints to the minimum.

The ACO is delighted with the resounding success met by this category in only its first year of existence. Seven cars were entered for the European Le Mans Series, the final round of which took place in Portugal on 18th October with the Estoril 4 Hours, and three are racing in the Asian Le Mans Series and will take part in the second round on the Sepang circuit in Malaysia on 8th November.

The prize promised to the winning drivers in the LM P3 drivers’ championship in the European Le Mans was a test in an LMP2 offered by Nissan/NISMO. It sends out a strong signal and provides a real opportunity to be assessed by the works team.

Greaves Motorsport, which has just won the LMP2 teams’ category in the ELMS, gives Sir Chris Hoy and Charlie Roberston a test in their Gibson-Nissan. The two drivers can do at least 40 laps of the Estoril circuit in Portugal in the LMP2 to learn all about driving this car and give Greaves Motorsport enough information to assess their progress.

For Hoy, a British cycling legend (6 medals in the Olympic Games), and an ambassador for Nissan, whose aim is to take part in the greatest endurance race in the world, this test marks a major step on the road to Le Mans.

The winning LMP3 squad in the teams’ classification in the ELMS, the LNT team of which Hoy and Robertson are members, has been given an invitation to the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours in LMP2 provided that it is also entered for one of the ACO’s endurance series. It’s an exceptional prize given the high number of potential entries in this category.

In its first year the LMP3 Series has excited a very high level of interest on the part on constructors, teams and drivers. New cars are being prepared for 2016.

The aim of this endurance nursery created by the ACO is to enable teams and drivers to learn the specific aspects of long-distance racing and to move up to the higher levels. In the LMP pyramid, the LMP3s represent the first step followed by accession to LMP2 (accepted in all the endurance series and the Le Mans 24 Hours) and then the summit, LMP1 (FIA WEC and Le Mans 24 Hours only). For example, Mike Conway, Olivier Pla and Harry Tincknell all found a seat in works teams in 2015 after impressing in LMP2. This year three rookies, Richie Stanaway, Mitch Evans and Sam Bird, will be given a test in LM P1s after the FIA WEC Bahrain 6-Hours race on 21st November.