IMSA WeatherTech Championship season preview: LMP3 – EAST AUTO NEWS

IMSA WeatherTech Championship season preview: LMP3

In its third 12 months as a category within the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, LMP3 has confirmed a worthy addition to the collection. The decrease price of working has allowed extra drivers to take part, and the professionals within the class are high quality racers, as evidenced by final 12 months’s champ Colin Braun being pulled into obligation for Meyer Shank Racing’s Acura ARX-06 in GTP.

With Braun exiting, his co-champion Jon Bennett has known as time on CORE Autosport, leaving the championship open as its six-race schedule begins this weekend at Sebring Worldwide Raceway. It will be straightforward to suppose that the workforce that gained the championship in 2021 and completed second to CORE final season would as soon as once more ascend to the highest of the category. The No. 74 Riley Motorsports squad with core driver Gar Robinson has been reliably within the LMP3 struggle, notably when Felipe Fraga joins him within the automobile. However a number of groups have stepped up their sport and the championship could possibly be fairly a struggle.

A type of groups is the No. 36 Andretti Autosport Ligier with Jarett Andretti, Gabby Chavez and, for the endurance races, Glenn van Berlo who put the No. 36 (pictured above) on the Sebring pole with authority. The workforce completed final 12 months on a excessive observe by wining Petit Le Mans, and has potential to be a championship contender.

“I feel we’ve been actually sturdy,” says Andretti. “I feel at Sebring we had been fairly good; we didn’t get to point out our potential. I feel we’ve had a very good automobile at Watkins although as effectively. I like going to Watkins Glen for a variety of causes. Personally, I feel it’s the most effective street course in North America. That one’s circled on my calendar and would like to win the Six Hour this 12 months.”

Andretti says he expects the sphere to be very aggressive this 12 months, and hopes to be in that blend.

“There are quite a lot of good groups right here. Riley is the primary that involves thoughts. They’ve an important program over there. Clearly, their outcomes communicate for themselves. After which you may have Creech who’ve a a very nice program, profitable at Sebring final 12 months. Jr III shall be again. And there’s a variety of different actually stable groups, I feel the sphere is basically aggressive. And there’s been quite a lot of guys which were in these automobiles for a very long time and dealing on these automobiles. So in some methods, it feels nonetheless looks like we’re studying each time as a result of we haven’t had as a lot time as quite a lot of these different guys,” he stated.

Lance Willsey and Joao Barbosa are again for a full season within the No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsports Ligier, and hoping to construct upon a fourth-place end within the championship final 12 months, together with that Sebring victory. Nico Pino is campaigning the endurance races with the workforce.

“We have now improved our information of the Ligier annually, and I feel we’ll be much more aggressive this 12 months than the previous two years,” stated Barbosa. “With two years of expertise, the workforce is aware of precisely what to do.”

Billy Glavin’s Jr. III Racing has confirmed itself a pressure in LMP3, and Ari Balogh and Garret Grist completed third within the championship final 12 months on the again of constant finishes. The workforce has been working throughout the offseason and feels they’re able to contend within the No. 30 Ligier.

“We’re able to be again on the monitor,” stated Grist. “We have now been fortunate to have a while testing at Sebring earlier than the Twelve Hour. It looks like it has been such a protracted low season since we didn’t compete in Daytona for the 24 Hour, however I feel that point has been used to our benefit as a result of we’ve had extra time to arrange for the season forward. We’ve made many enhancements throughout the offseason, and I can’t wait to see how the season performs out.”

AWA has made good strides in its two-car Duqueine program, and the No. 13 with Orey Fidani and the No. 17 with Anthony Mantella might make a mark in some races.

The six-race LMP3 schedule consists of an equal variety of dash and endurance races. After the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, LMP3 shall be included on the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Street America, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Street Atlanta.

IMSA WeatherTech Championship season preview: LMP3 – EAST AUTO NEWS


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