Hsr Sebring Spring Fling 2024 153 04232024 (credit Hsr) V2

HSR Creates New Platform for LMP3

After Successful First Event, Increased Field Expected for The Mitty


By John Oreovicz


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Owners of Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) class racing cars now have multiple platforms within the IMSA family for getting on track: The IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge and the Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Prototype Challenge Presented by IMSA.


Now in the third year of IMSA’s formal involvement with HSR, the collaboration continues to grow and evolve to provide sports car competitors and fans with on-track action representing every era. The HSR Prototype Challenge lends a modern element, open to LMP3 machinery, including those that raced in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as recently as 2023.


In the VP Racing Challenge, LMP3 cars share the track with competitors racing GT4-specification production-based cars for 45-minute sprint races. The HSR Prototype Challenge puts the LMP3s on track with classic prototypes from the P1, P2, and P3 classes, and features a two-hour race format that mandates three pit stops and a driver change.


The opening round of the HSR Prototype Challenge was staged March 10 at HSR’s “Spring Fling” at Sebring International Raceway. Due to a scheduling conflict that saw a number of potential participants running their LMP3 cars the same weekend in the VP Racing Challenge at the Grand Prix of St Petersburg, only five entries took the green flag.


But quality easily overcame quantity as Kenton Koch and Jon Field (No. 37 One Motorsports Ligier JS P3) edged James French and Alex Koreiba (No. 25 Wolf Motorsports Ligier JS P3) by just 1.682 seconds at the end of 120 hard-fought minutes. Eric Curran, a two-time champion in the WeatherTech Championship, returned to racing after a hiatus to claim third place with John Reisman in the No. 74 Hudson Historics Ligier.


Field was out front for the first 45 minutes at Sebring before the One Motorsport team used a clever bit of strategy, calling for two of the three mandatory pit stops within the space of three laps. That left Koch some 30 seconds back, but after both cars made their final stops, French held a narrow lead heading into the last dozen minutes of the race.


A slight mistake by French entering Turn 15 allowed Koch to power past through Sebring’s long final corner as they took the white flag. Koch was then able to maintain the lead to the finish.


“It was a good battle we had going with James – he got off the corners really good,” stated Koch, who also competes for Random Vandals Racing in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. “We were better in the second half of the straightaway, and he was better in the first half. The only way I was able to get by him was to get into his mirrors a little bit.”


Said French: “I have been racing with Kenton for a long time. It’s awesome to have a good battle with him. We always have good battles. He pushes me hard, and I like to think I push him hard. We came up just a bit short, but we will try again next time.”


Field is a longtime sports car racer who now has the distinction of leading the opening lap to inaugurate two different series. Field went from fourth to first during Lap 1 of the 2000 Rolex 24 At Daytona, the first year the race was run under the guise of the Grand American Road Racing Association (GRAND-AM).


“That was fun,” Field said. “I have been running Radicals, but I am happy to be back in bigger prototypes. These are just really good prototype cars, and watching Kenton and James French at the end there was phenomenal for me, even as a spectator at that point.”


The next round of the HSR Prototype Challenge is this weekend at the 46th running of The Mitty at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. With no conflicting VP Racing Challenge event, the field is expected to be much larger.


“The inaugural HSR Prototype Challenge race, with close racing throughout and a pass for the win coming down to the white flag, was a success,” said HSR President Chris Ward. “With a successful first race in the books, we are confident and have all indications that the field will grow exponentially for the next round at the HSR Mitty.”


The complete eight-race HSR schedule and full event information can be found on HSR’s website at www.HSRRace.com.