Identifying a gap in the global prototype racing ladder, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) launched the LMP3 category, cost-capped and ready to help drivers understand the cars. Six manufacturers were approved to build chassis: Ginetta, Ligier (Onroak), Adess, Dome, Riley, and Norma, with identical Nissan V8 engines providing 420 bhp, which must last for 10,000km without maintenance, and X-Trac gearboxes.
The price of the LMP3 car must not exceed €206,000, keeping it an affordable entry-level format. Cars currently race in a number of championships across the globe; in the European Le Mans Series, Michelin Le Mans Cup, VdeV, 24H Prototype Challenge, Supercar Challenge, Trophée Proto Sprint, IMSA Prototype Challenge, Asian Le Mans Series, Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup, and FRD LMP3 Series. With such a variety of championships running throughout the year, teams have the ability to keep the cars running on track, reducing overall costs. As the LMP3 Cup Championship transitions to run on Michelin tyres, it is envisaged that teams across Europe will find the UK series more appealing to enter.
The LMP3 Cup has an emphasis on driver development on the road to Le Mans, but is a National Championship in its own right. The LMP3 Cup Championship has identified and opened up the driver options to allow for four different categories: Silver/Silver+, Silver/Silver, Silver/Bronze, and Bronze/Bronze. The different driver pairings will assist a growing demand for talented single-seater drivers looking to transition to endurance prototype racing and provide greater flexibility with different drivers from different backgrounds to compete alongside each other or indeed for solo drivers to compete on their own. Only Silver/Bronze and Bronze/Bronze driver pairings will be eligible for the Michelin Road to Le Mans entry in 2019.