Grimes and Mowlem to take on LMP3 Cup challenge at Donington
Red River Sport will make its prototype racing debut at Donington Park on September 16/17 as Bonamy Grimes and Johnny Mowlem compete in the Henderson Insurance Brokers LMP3 Cup Championship for the first time.
Mowlem’s Red River Sport currently works with clients in GT racing, and the experienced racer sees the LMP3 car as a logical step in helping drivers achieve their goal of racing at the famous Le Mans 24 Hours.
“Both of my first two customers, Ivan Dunbar and Bonamy Grimes, wanted to go to Le Mans,” says Mowlem. “That doesn't mean if you join Red River Sport you have to have the ambition to drive at Le Mans, but in the case of the first two that's what they wanted and that’s what I can help with, having been on that path and done the Le Mans 24 myself quite a few times.
“One of the things I realised early on, having done quite a lot of work in the Liger JS P3, was the similarities of a P3 car to a GTE car, given that neither of them have ABS. It occurred to me that an LMP3 car was a better teaching tool than a GT3 car, even though it’s not in a GT genre so to speak.
“My clients also want to be able to go and compete in a whole variety of races and cherry pick events around the world to do, and the P3 is fast becoming that ubiquitous car, where once you have it you can run in a whole different bunch of series with a view to running in the European Le Mans Series with it.
“Finally, and the most compelling, is the cost. The LMP3 is cheap to buy because it’s cost-capped and it appears to be cost-effective to run, so it makes sense to have something that gives you a better return for your money in terms of enjoyment.”
Grimes is also looking forward to a new challenge from what he is used to racing. “It’s a ladder and I'm trying to find the next challenge for my driving,” he said. “The Ferrari 458 Challenge is an absolutely beautiful car but it does flatter the driver slightly - it has lovely aids and it’s a well balanced car but I need to step up to the next level.
“The LMP3 Car has no traction control, no ABS, and a lot more aero, so its a different beast and a different driving style. I want to learn to be a better driver. Johnny Mowlem is very experienced with LMP cars, he’s driven prototype cars all his life, so he’s giving lots of advice. With the lack of driver aids on an LMP3 we might learn a bit more quickly.”
For the Donington race Red River is going to make use of existing expertise to help it prepare the Ligier JS P3. “We’re getting United Autosports to run it because they’re a factory team, the Ligier importer, and I’m very good friends with Richard Dean - I used to be good team mates with Richard back in 2001” added Mowlem.
The final round of the inaugural Henderson Insurance Brokers LMP3 Cup Championship is at Donington Park on September 16/17 with a one-hour race on each day. Tickets are priced at £17 per day, £30 for the weekend, and children under the age of 13 go free with a paying adult.