A Le Mans Prototype (LMP) is the type of sports prototype race car used in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, FIA World Endurance Championship, IMSA SportsCar Championship, European Le Mans Series and Asian Le Mans Series. Le Mans Prototypes were created by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO). The technical requirements for an LMP include bodywork covering all mechanical elements of the car. Currently, there are three classes within Le Mans Prototypes, designated LMP1, LMP2, and LMP3.
While not as fast as open-wheel Formula One cars around a track, LMP1s were the fastest closed-wheel racing cars used in circuit racing. Le Mans Prototypes are considered a class above production-based grand tourer cars, which compete alongside them in sports car racing. Later LMP1 designs included hybrid cars that use electric motors to assist acceleration.
The Le Mans Prototype LMP1 class has been replaced by Le Mans Hypercars in the FIA World Endurance Championship, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans from the 2021 season. Non-hybrid LMP1 cars were eligible to be "grandfathered" for two more seasons and compete alongside the new class for the 2021 to 2022 seasons.
Starting from the 2023 season of FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship, Le Mans Hypercars will be joined by Le Mans Daytona h (LMDh) cars. These two kinds of prototypes will form the top class of endurance racing: Hypercar.
Le Mans Prototypes have used various names depending on the series in which they compete. The FIA's equivalent cars were referred to as Sports Racers (SR) or Sports Racing Prototypes (SRP). The American IMSA GT Championship termed their cars World Sports Cars (WSC), while the short-lived United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC) used the classic Can-Am (CA) name for their prototypes. Since 2004, most series have switched to referring to these cars as Le Mans Prototypes. The American Le Mans Series, the successor to the IMSA GT Championship and the predecessor of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, officially referred to the cars simply as Prototypes (P1, P2, or PC). An LMP is commonly referred to as a Le Mans car in the media.
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The first use of what would become Le Mans Prototypes was at the 1992 24 Hours of Le Mans. In an attempt to increase the number of entrants beyond the small field of Group C competitors that the World Sportscar Championship had to offer, older Porsche 962s were allowed entry in Category 3. To further increase the size of the field, small open-cockpit race cars using production road car engines which were raced in small national championships were allowed in Category 4.
Later, ACO announced its intentions to completely replace the Group C cars with Le Mans Prototypes. Two classes were created, with LMP1s running large displacement custom-built engines that were usually turbocharged, and LMP2s using the smaller displacement production-based engines. Both classes were required to have open cockpits. However, LMP1 cars that year were just former Group C cars, some still with closed cockpits (Toyota 94C-V, Courage C32, Kremer K8 Spyder, Porsche 962C GTI, ALD C289 and Alpa LM). At the same time, the IMSA GT Championship announced the end of their closed cockpit GTP and Lights classes, deciding as well to replace them with a single open-cockpit class of World Sports Cars equivalent to LMP1.
This formula continued up to 1996, with many manufacturers embracing the LMP and WSC classes, including Ferrari, Porsche, and Mazda. In 1997, the first European series based around Le Mans Prototypes was launched, known as the "International Sports Racing Series". Using classes similar to LMP1/WSC and LMP2, these cars were known as "SR1" and "SR2" by the FIA. 1998 saw the creation of another series of Le Mans Prototypes, with the new United States Road Racing Championship attempting to break away from the IMSA GT Championship. To differ from IMSA'S WSC class, the USRRC named their open-cockpit prototypes "Can-Am" in an attempt to resurrect the sportscar championship of the 1970s. However, the USRRC collapsed before the end of 1999, with the series becoming the Rolex Sports Car Series chose to use the FIA's SR1 and SR2 formula instead.
1998 saw a great expansion for the ACO's LMP classes. Following the cancellation of the IMSA GT Championship at the end of 1998, the ACO allowed for the creation of the American Le Mans Series. This series used the same class structure as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, meaning it was the first championship to use the LMP name. At the same time, the ACO greatly altered their LMP classes. The smaller LMP2 class were briefly eliminated, while a new class of closed-cockpit prototypes was allowed in, known as "LMGTP" (Le Mans grand touring prototype). These cars were evolutions of production-based road cars that the ACO considered too advanced and too fast to fall under the GT class regulations, forcing the ACO to promote them as prototypes.
In 2000, changes were made to the LMP regulations, as the ACO once again split the open-cockpit LMP class. The two new classes became known as "LMP900" and "LMP675", with the numbers denoting the minimum weight requirements (in kilograms) for each class. The LMP900s were to be more powerful and faster in top speed, but also heavier and more cumbersome. The LMP675s were to be smaller and more nimble, yet lack the top speed of the larger class. Both classes were intended to be able to compete for overall wins. Audi, Chrysler, Cadillac, and Panoz opted to use the LMP900 formula, while MG were the only major manufacturer to attempt the LMP675 class. The LMGTP class also continued, with Bentley being the only manufacturer to build a closed-cockpit prototype after the regulation changes in 2000.
In 2017, in order to limit the costs, FIA introduced a new set of LMP2 regulations, which will be locked in through 2020, aiming for a significant power increase, to the range of 150 horsepower (which is expected to lead to a four-second decrease in lap time at Le Mans). Gibson Technology is the exclusive engine supplier for LMP2, producing a four-litre normally-aspirated V8.
Biofuels, specifically petrol with 10% ethanol and biodiesel (BTL), are allowed in both LMP1 and LMP2 categories.
The fuel tank size and minimum weight for non-hybrid cars was subject to adjustment to reduce the difference in performance between hybrid and non-hybrid cars.
There were no limits on the number of cylinders for any type of engine.
Bodywork was required to cover all mechanical elements of the car, so that they couldn't be visible when the car is viewed directly from the front, side, or top.
The LMP1 cars were generally the most powerful, with higher straight-line speeds.
The LMP1 category was retired at the end of the 2020 season, replaced by a new top class of the endurance racing: Hypercar.
|Minimum weight||878 kilograms (1,936 lb)||833 kilograms (1,836 lb)|
|Maximum length||4,650 millimetres (183 in)|
|Minimum width||1,800 millimetres (71 in)|
|Maximum width||1,900 millimetres (75 in)|
|Engine displacement||no limit||max. 5.5 litres (340 in3)|
|Fuel tank capacity for petrol engines||62.3 litres (16.5 US gal)||75 litres (20 US gal)|
|For diesel engines||50.1 litres (13.2 US gal)|
|Maximum wheel diameter||28 inches (710 mm)|
|Maximum wheel width||14 inches (360 mm)|
From 2017, in order to limit the costs, FIA introduced a new set of regulations, which will be locked in through 2025, bhp.aiming a significant power increase, to the range of 150 horsepower (which is expected to lead to a four-second decrease in lap time at Le Mans). Gibson Technology is the exclusive engine supplier, producing a 4.2-litre naturally-aspirated V8. In seasons 2017 through 2020, the engine produced about 600
Dallara, Onroak Automotive (Ligier), Oreca and the joint-venture Riley Tech/Multimatic were selected by FIA as the four exclusive chassis constructors, which must be closed-cockpit designs.
Before the start of the 2021 season LMP2 cars have been slowed down to ensure the necessary lap time difference between the LMP2 and a new class—Hypercar. In the original version of the new ruleset, revealed in November 2020, only the power of the Gibson engine has been reduced—to 560 bhp. Right before the start of the season, the cars were further weakened, by trimming an additional 20 bhp to a total of 540 bhp. The minimum weight of the cars has also been increased by 20 kg and has been set at 950 kg. Furthermore, mirroring the Hypercar category, a single aero kit has been made mandatory across the whole season and is limited to the Le Mans specification in the WEC; the ELMS teams have retained the right to switch between the aero kits.
|Minimum weight||950 kilograms (2,090 lb)|
|Maximum length||4,750 millimetres (187 in)|
|Overall width||1,800 millimetres (71 in) (min) to 1,900 millimetres (75 in) (max)|
|Maximum Height||1,050 millimetres (41 in)|
|Engine||4.2 litres (260 in3) V8 naturally-aspirated petrol engine (homologated)|
|Fuel tank capacity||75 litres (20 US gal)|
|Maximum wheel diameter||690 millimetres (27 in) front, 715 millimetres (28.1 in) rear|
|Maximum wheel width||342 millimetres (13.5 in) front, 362 millimetres (14.3 in) rear|
LMP3 is an entry-level prototype class intended for introducing young drivers and new teams to endurance racing before they progress to the higher classes of prototype racing, LMP2 and ultimately Hypercar.LMP3 uses closed-cockpit chassis, which can be built by any licensed constructor, powered by a 5.6-litre normally-aspirated Nissan V8 engine, producing 455 bhp.
The cars eligible for use in the class were: Ginetta-Juno P3, Ligier JS P3, Norma M30, ADESS-03, and the Ave-Riley AR-02. The cars were eligible in a number of series, such as the Asian Le Mans Series, the European Le Mans Series, as well as the V de V Endurance Series and the IMSA Prototype Challenge.A number of championships for the class have also been created, such as the FRD LMP3 series and the British LMP3 Cup.
A 2nd Generation ruleset was introduced for 2020, with new cars introduced, namely the Ginetta G61-LT-P3, Ligier JS P320, Duqueine D-08, and the ADESS-03 Evo. These cars can be built from its predecessors using an upgrade kit.The new LMP3 prototypes are used in Asian Le Mans Series, Michelin Le Mans Cup, European Le Mans Series, IMSA Prototype Challenge, IMSA SportsCar Championship and Prototype Cup Germany.
|Minimum weight||950 kilograms (2,090 lb)|
|Maximum length||4,650 millimetres (183 in)|
|Maximum width||1,900 millimetres (75 in)|
|Engine||Naturally aspirated Nissan VK56DE 5.6L V8|
|Fuel tank capacity||100 litres (26 US gal)|
|Maximum wheel diameter||28 inches (710 mm)|
|Maximum wheel width||13 inches (330 mm)|
An informal version of LMP3 existed prior to 2015, dating back into the early 2000s. Engine capacity was 1600 cc, later 2000 cc. A 3000 cc version of this class became Group CN.
LMPC (Le Mans Prototype Challenge) was an earlier entry level class, introduced in 2009, consisting of competitors running identical Oreca FLM09 cars.The class was dropped in European Le Mans Series in 2014. As the cost of running an LMPC team was found to be comparable to that for an LMP2 team, the class was dropped after the 2017 season in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Sports car racing is a form of motorsport road racing which utilises sports cars that have two seats and enclosed wheels. They may be purpose-built prototypes or grand tourers based on road-going models. Broadly speaking, sports car racing is one of the main types of circuit auto racing, alongside open-wheel single-seater racing, touring car racing and stock car racing. Sports car races are often, though not always, endurance races that are run over relatively large distances, and there is usually a larger emphasis placed on the reliability and efficiency of the car as opposed to outright speed of the driver. The FIA World Endurance Championship is an example of a sports car racing series.
The European Le Mans Series is a European sports car racing endurance series inspired by the 24 Hours of Le Mans race and organized by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO). The European Le Mans Series is similar to the former American Le Mans Series (ALMS) based in the United States and Canada that was running with ACO and IMSA between 1999 and 2013. ELMS team champions and runners-up receive an automatic entry to the following year's 24 Hours of Le Mans. Originally titled the Le Mans Endurance Series before becoming simply the Le Mans Series in 2006, the series was renamed once more in 2012, reusing a name previously utilized by IMSA in 2001.
Krohn Racing is a professional sports car racing team based in Houston, Texas. The team competes in the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Prototype class, and has competed in the FIA World Endurance Championship, Intercontinental Le Mans Cup GTE-Amateur class; the American Le Mans Series GT2 class; and the Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype class.
Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD) is a subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co. which was established in 1993 and is based in Santa Clarita, California. It is the technical operations center for Honda's American motorsports programs and is involved in the design and development of race engines and chassis for auto racing series such as the IndyCar Series, American Le Mans Series (ALMS), European Le Mans Series (ELMS), FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and IMSA SportsCar Championship.
The FIA World Endurance Championship is an auto racing world championship organized by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) and sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). The series supersedes the ACO's former Intercontinental Le Mans Cup which began in 2010 and is the first endurance series of world championship status since the demise of the World Sportscar Championship at the end of 1992. The World Endurance Championship name was previously used by the FIA from 1981 to 1985.
The Vanwall Racing Team is an Austrian-German auto racing team based in Greding, Germany. The team currently fields the No. 4 Vanwall Vandervell 680 in the FIA World Endurance Championship. It was founded in 2000 by Romulus Kolles and his son Colin Kolles as Kolles Racing. Prior to 2023, the team was known as ByKolles Racing before being rebranded into the Vanwall Racing Team.
The IMSA SportsCar Championship, currently known as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship under sponsorship, is a sports car racing series based in the United States and Canada and organized by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA). It is a result of a merger between two existing North American sports car racing series, the American Le Mans Series and Rolex Sports Car Series. At its inception, the name was United SportsCar Championship, which subsequently changed to IMSA SportsCar Championship in 2016. Rolex SA's Tudor brand was the championship's title sponsor in 2014 and 2015, and since 2016 WeatherTech has served as title sponsor.
Grand Touring Endurance, shortened to GTE, is a set of regulations maintained by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) and IMSA for grand tourer racing cars used in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 24 hours of Daytona GTLM, and its associated series. The class was formerly known as simply Group GT between 1999 and 2004, and later referred to as Group GT2 between 2005 and 2011. The GT2 name has since been revived for a different set of regulations.
Jota Sport is a British sports car racing team. Founded as Team Jota by Sam Hignett and John Stack, Jota Sport is part of the Jota Group which is owned by Sam Hignett and David Clark. The team is based in Tunbridge Wells in England. Jota Sport has finished on the overall podium of 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans with two Oreca in an alliance with Jackie Chan DC Racing. In 2018/2019 Jota competed, in partnership with Arden International, RP Motorsport, Jackie Chan DC Racing and Aston Martin in the FIA World Endurance Championship with two ORECA 07 LMP2 and in the GT World Challenge Europe with Mclaren 720S GT3 cars.
The 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship was the sixth season of the FIA World Endurance Championship, an auto racing series co-organised by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO). The series is open to Le Mans Prototypes and grand tourer-style racing cars divided into four categories. The season began at the Silverstone Circuit in April and will end at the Bahrain International Circuit in November, and include the 85th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. World championship titles will be awarded to the leading prototype drivers and manufacturers, while for the first time in the World Endurance Championship the leading grand touring drivers and manufacturers will also be awarded a world championship.
The Oreca 07 is a Le Mans Prototype built by French manufacturer Oreca to meet the 2017 FIA and ACO LMP2 regulations. It made its official race debut in the opening round of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the 24 Hours of Daytona, and its FIA World Endurance Championship debut at the 2017 6 Hours of Silverstone. The car is the successor to the Oreca 05.
The Ligier JS P217 is a Le Mans Prototype built by Onroak Automotive and named in a partnership with French racing driver Guy Ligier. The Ligier JS P217 was built to meet the 2017 FIA and ACO regulations for 2017 for the LMP2 category in the FIA World Endurance Championship. The car also meets the regulations for the International Motor Sports Association’s (IMSA) WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for the Prototype class. It is active in both these championship series as well as the European Le Mans Series and Asian Le Mans Series in 2017. The prototype made its racing debut at the 2017 24 Hours of Daytona and its FIA World Endurance Championship debut at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.
The 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship was the ninth season of the FIA World Endurance Championship, an auto racing series organised by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO). The series is open to prototype and grand tourer-style racing cars divided into four categories. World Championship titles were awarded to the leading manufacturers and drivers in both the prototype and grand tourer divisions.
A Daytona Prototype International (DPi) was a type of sports prototype racing car developed specifically for the International Motor Sports Association's WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, as their top class of car, acting as a direct replacement, and spiritual successor of the Daytona Prototypes. They are named after the main series event, the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The class made its racing debut at the 2017 24 Hours of Daytona.
A Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) is a type of sports prototype race car that competes alongside LMDh entries in the Hypercar class of the FIA World Endurance Championship. It will also compete in the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class of the IMSA SportsCar Championship from 2023.
An LMDh is a type of sports prototype race car that will compete alongside Le Mans Hypercar entries in the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class of the IMSA SportsCar Championship from 2023. It also competes in the Hypercar class of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship was the tenth season of the FIA World Endurance Championship, an auto racing series organised by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO). The series was open to prototype and grand tourer-style racing cars divided into four categories. World Championship titles were awarded to the leading manufacturers and drivers in both the prototype and grand tourer divisions.
The Porsche 963 is an LMDh sports prototype racing car designed by Porsche and built by Multimatic, to compete in the Hypercar and GTP classes in the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship, respectively. The 963 name draws inspiration from the Porsche 956 and Porsche 962 that raced in the 1980s, which also competed in American and European racing series. The car was revealed at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed, with a traditional red, white, and black livery.
The 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship will be the eleventh season of the FIA World Endurance Championship, an auto racing series organised by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO). The series is open to prototype and grand tourer-style racing cars divided into three categories. World Championship titles will be awarded to the leading manufacturers and drivers in both the prototype and grand tourer divisions.