The new UK-based Prototype Cup has the potential to be “hugely successful”, according to American sportscar ace Guy Cosmo.
Cosmo, a former Star Mazda champion and endurance racing stalwart in his native United States, visited Snetterton for the first time last weekend to attend the opening race of the new LMP3/CN based series.
Having witnessed the Prototype Cup first hand, the 39 year old is confident that it can contribute significantly to the growth of the class as a whole.
“I’m a huge supporter of LMP3, and I think the British Prototype Cup series is going to be hugely successful,” he told The Checkered Flag.co.uk.
“It’s going to allow us to develop the next generation of prototype driver through awfully competitive racing.”
“It’s a fantastic car; a true prototype. It’s easy to call it a baby LMP2 based on its size and dimensions. It does have a little less downforce than the LMP2, but it’s still a phenomenal piece of kit. The great thing about this class is that once you make it here, you’re in the big show. It’s now a direct route to racing at Le Mans, as I did earlier this year in the support race.”
Cosmo spent the weekend working with Patrick Byrne, a promising young American racer who is developing a sportscar career under the tutelage of his mentor.
As Cosmo explains, his role centred on making sure Byrne got the most out of driving the Ligier JSP3 for the first time, although he didn’t shy away from getting behind the wheel himself!
“My main job here is to work with my client Patrick during his introduction to the LMP3 category,” said Cosmo.
“I’ve been coaching and driving with Patrick for a while now so I’m very familiar with his skill level and his approach to getting to grips with a new car.”
“He’s tried out a number of cars before and this is another new one, so I’m providing support for his first time racing a Le Mans style prototype. In particular I’ve been helping Patrick get accustomed to the braking applications and the limitations of the LMP3 in lower speed corners. It’s important to recognise when something is or isn’t working in order to get the most out of it. From what I saw at Snetterton, he’s been making big gains since first stepping in.”
“The weekend’s experience was all about Patrick, but that also meant I also got to have some fun and hop in the race myself! It was my first time racing in England – it’s something I’ve always wanted to do because the motorsport culture is so rich. It’s a way of life over here.”
The LMP3 category is aimed at providing a cost-effective, standardised platform of racing for both amateur enthusiasts and career-minded professionals.
At Le Mans this year, a field of LMP3 cars supported the famous 24 hour race, demonstrating the kind of experience and exposure buyers could be getting if they decide to enter the category.
Cosmo was one driver involved in the Road to Le Mans race, driving a Ligier JSP3 run by United Autosports. For him, the experience highlighted just how good LMP3 cars can be when placed on one of the most demanding circuits in the world. He’s also the class lap record holder there, which isn’t a feat to be scoffed at!
“Le Mans was a mind blowing experience, especially in this car,” he said.
“Despite not being in the 24 hours it was still the most incredible time for me. Setting the fastest lap was also pretty cool too. I almost can’t say enough about how phenomenal the Ligier was. The cars are practically bulletproof – Ligier has nailed its production with this one.”
In terms of his own driving future, Cosmo wants to keep himself in the highest echelons of sportscar racing, namely the IMSA championship in North America which he has supported for 13 years now.
He has ruled himself out of the new LMP3-based US Prototype Challenge series backed by Mazda, instead using the category as a framework for his consulting business.
“Currently I’m doing a lot of consulting in the United States for people who are taking the LMP3 route, rather than driving,” he explained.
“The championship where the new LMP3 cars will raced – the newly named Prototype Challenge – is a great looking support series with 45 minute races but I probably won’t be driving in it. I have my hand in a lot different areas at the moment, with a lot of attention on this new category, so I’m keeping busy.”
“I truly want to see LMP3 succeed wherever it goes: there has already been a lot of gentleman driver interest in the IMSA Prototype Challenge, over here of course, and the European Le Mans Series as well.”
“I’m having conversations every day about every single one of those championships, so it’s really taking off back home. The LMP3 category excites me immensely.”
The Prototype Cup will begin its first full season in April 2017, with the full official calendar to be announced soon.