Exa Corporation Unveils Ligier JS P3 Le Mans Prototype 3
The new LMP3 class is beginning to take shape, with several chassis manufacturers getting in on the action. The latest is Ligier along with simulation software company Exa Corporation, which introduced its new JS P3 LMP3-class racer this week at Le Mans. Ligier adds its name to the roster of Ginetta and LAS Motorsport, who are among the manufacturers already committed to LMP3.
The new car uses lessons learned from the Ligier JS P2 car (currently used by Extreme Speed Motorsports, Oak Racing and Krohn Racing), and applies them to a low-cost package. Exa’s simulation software has been used to shape the car’s aerodynamics and optimize cooling for the brakes, engine and closed cockpit. It’s visually similar to the Ligier LMP2 car, but smaller, in accordance with the rules. The ACO hasn’t finalized a weight for the class, but it should come in somewhere between 1,900 and 2,000 pounds.
Like all other LMP3 cars, power comes courtesy of a spec Nissan V-8 putting out around 420 horsepower, coupled with a six-speed sequential gearbox and Magneti Marelli engine management system. Oreca will sell the drivetrains and other running gear as a package to all LMP3 teams and provide race support.
Continue reading to learn more about the Exa Ligier JS P3 Le Mans Prototype 3.
Why it matters
The LMP3 class slots in below LMP2 as a low-cost point of entry into Le Mans-style prototype racing. With the costs increasing in LMP1, and to a lesser degree in LMP2, the ACO (the governing body for Le Mans and the WEC) recognized the need for a newer, more-affordable prototype class. It aims to keep costs for new LMP3 cars below €195,000 (about $220,000) and annual running costs at around €450,000 ($500,000) per season.
So, when and where can we expect to see the Ligier JS P3 racing? Though LMP3 cars won’t be eligible for the WEC or 24 Hours of Le Mans, both the European and Asian Le Mans Series have already begun accepting LMP3 entries. Here in the U.S., the Tudor United SportsCar Championship is also look at the LMP3 class as a possible replacement for the Prototype Challenge class.