The LMP3 class will find its home in the IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge beginning next year. (IMSA photo)

WeatherTech Championship To Return To 4 Classes

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — As popularity and participation surge in other classes of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the International Motor Sports Ass’n announced the Le Mans Prototype 3 class will no longer compete in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship after this season.

Instead, the division will find its home in the IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge through the current 2026 homologation period.

The introduction of the hybrid-powered Grand Touring Prototype class this season has generated added global excitement and interest in the WeatherTech Championship.

The first customer car will join eight manufacturer-backed entries in the upcoming race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, and with more customer entries expected, as well as a fifth manufacturer on board to join next season, double-digit GTP fields are on the horizon.

IMSA also recently announced that current Le Mans Prototype 2 cars remain eligible to race in the WeatherTech Championship through 2025. The stability of this prototype platform has sparked fierce competition in the class in recent years, and there is strong potential of even more entries next year.

Meanwhile, the GT3-spec classes continue seeing massive global popularity from manufacturers, competitors and fans. The GT Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) class featured eight manufacturers competing in the opening two endurance races of 2023, with five continuing through the full season. GT Daytona (GTD) has had nine manufacturers compete this year, with the class field ranging from 15 to 20 cars through the first three events. Participation is expected to increase in both classes in 2024, with Ford re-entering WeatherTech Championship competition with the new Mustang and Chevrolet launching its new Corvette C8.R with both GTD PRO and GTD aspirations.

“The LMP3 class has contributed to the growth and success of the WeatherTech Championship since 2021,” IMSA President John Doonan said. “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.”

The LMP3 class will complete its three-year run in the WeatherTech Championship at the Motul Petit Le Mans, the season finale in October. The true intent of the LMP3 platform has been to nurture and develop aspiring prototype teams and drivers, and that continues in the VP Racing SportsCar Challenge, where LMP3 drivers compete for overall race victories. The multiclass sprint-race series featuring LMP3 and GT4 machines racing together has built great momentum in its first season.

“We’ve already seen the promise that the VP Racing SportsCar Challenge holds through the first two event weekends,” Doonan said. “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.”