The European Le Mans Series will drop the GTC class as part of a series of changes for the 2016 season, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest has announced.
GT3-compliant cars, five of which ran full-seasons in GTC this year, will instead be eligible for the ACO’s new Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup which is set to run in support of the three-day ELMS events.
The LMP2 and LMP3 classes will remain, with a significant increase in entries expected for the latter, while LMGTE will remain as the sole grand tourer category.
All four LMP3 manufacturers – Ginetta, ADESS, Ligier and Riley/Ave – are preparing to enter the 2016 ELMS season after a long year of development for their respective chassis.
GTC was established in 2012 by the ACO to introduce GT3 regulations to its fleet of international endurance racing events. Although no cars entered the first season there was a slight rise in interest the following year, with a large number of one-off entries taking part.
2014 saw the largest GTC grid, featuring 10 full-season entries and a number of guests at each of the five rounds. This season the field was reduced to five main entries, and the championship was won by TDS Racing’s BMW Z4.
GT3 cars in the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup will compete at five of the six ELMS rounds next year (bar Silverstone). A two hour race will be held on a programme that also features the Renault Sport Trophy for Renault RS.01 GT cars and the Formula Renault 2.0 championship.
Elsewhere in the regulation changes, LMP2 cars will now be granted two engines per race weekend, although this only extends to full-season entries.
Platinum drivers are not allowed in LMP3 and only one gold driver can take part in a three driver crew.
The ACO has also announced that prize money will be introduced in 2016. The details of this will be released at a later date.