IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda Introduces LM P3 Chassis In 2017
Friday, August 5, 2016

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (August 5, 2016) – The development of Prototype sports car drivers in International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) competition will take an intriguing new direction in 2017 with the introduction of LM P3 race cars and the repositioning of IMSA’s Mazda Prototype Lites Presented by Cooper Tires platform into IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda. The new championship will race a 13-round schedule at seven premier North American circuits.

Prototype Challenge action will be divided into two classes, blending new and existing IMSA machinery. The PC1 class will feature LM P3 chassis from as many as six different constructors powered by identical V8 engines. The PC2 class will use the existing Élan DP02 chassis powered by Mazda engines currently used in the Lites 1 class of the Mazda Prototype Lites Presented by Cooper Tires, the foundation for the new IMSA Prototype Challenge series.

“IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda will provide great racing for our fans and an ideal platform for young talent and seasoned drivers to compete in a two-class competition environment – making it an ideal training ground for advancement into the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship,” said Scott Atherton, IMSA president. “We have sought feedback from and worked closely with our competitors, manufacturers and other constituents to define and create this attractive new pathway to prototypes.”

Thirteen rounds of competition will take place in IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda in 2017, starting in mid-March and ending in early October. Nine rounds will take place during WeatherTech Championship weekends, putting drivers and teams into the brightest sports car racing spotlight in North America. Most event weekends will include a pair of 45-minute sprint races.

"Mazda is committed to providing development opportunities for drivers, teams and crews,” said Mazda Motorsports Director John Doonan. “The IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda is a perfect step for those wanting to move up the ladder in our Mazda Road to 24 program. The #MRT24 is designed to help sports car racers go from grassroots racing all the way to the top level of North American road racing."

The first two rounds of the series will take place at one of the most prestigious events in the WeatherTech Championship, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida on March 17-18 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida. The next two rounds will be held on the weekend of April 21-23 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.

The series then returns to another iconic WeatherTech Championship endurance event, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen on June 30-July 2 at Watkins Glen International at Watkins Glen, New York. On the following weekend IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda makes its first of two visits to Canada for an event at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, on July 7-9.

From there, the series heads for Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut, on July 21-22 for a single, 45-minute race as part of the IMSA WeatherTech Northeast Grand Prix weekend.

The series returns to Canada on Aug. 11-13 at the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivières in Trois-Rivières, Quebec. Championships will be decided in the final two rounds of the season Oct. 5-7 during Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia.

2017 IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda Schedule

Date                             Venue

March 17-18                  Sebring International Raceway, Sebring, Florida*

April 21-23                     Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Alabama

June 30-July 2               Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, New York*

July 7-9                         Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Bowmanville, Ontario*

July 21-22                     Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Connecticut* **

Aug. 11-13                    Grand Prix of Trois-Rivières, Trois-Rivières, Quebec

Oct. 5-7                         Road Atlanta, Braselton, Georgia*


* -- In conjunction with IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship events

** -- Will feature a single, 45-minute race