The new British Prototype Cup series will be renamed the LMP3 Cup Championship, upon receiving official backing from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO).
As part of the deal, promoter Bute Motorsport will be allowed to use both the name and technical regulations of the LMP3 category.
Additionally, the winner of this year’s LMP3 Cup Championship will receive a €45,000 purse and an automatic entry to the 2018 Michelin Le Mans Cup, which includes the Road to Le Mans race which supports the famous 24 hour enduro.
The partnership was first mooted by series technical manager Philip Boland at the inaugural Prototype Cup race at Snetterton in October.
“The ACO see us as the one-hour race, their new Le Mans Cup sprint series at the two-hour race, the ELMS as the four-hour race and then onto Le Mans and the World Endurance Championship,” Boland told The Checkered Flag.co.uk at the time.
“They view us as a firm part of their sportscar ladder which is really encouraging for our series. They want us to promote the regional Le Mans Series championships.”
The ACO, which runs the 24 Hours of Le Mans, created the LMP3 category in 2014 as a cost-effective way for teams to get into prototype racing.
Each car is capped to a sale price of €206,000 and includes a spec 420 hp engine provided by Nissan.
Since its introduction the class has grown massively on a regional level in Europe and Asia. A new LMP3 sprint championship is set to arrive in the United States later this year.
“It is very gratifying to see that our LMP3 formula, develop so fast,” said ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil.
“It now has a global footprint and working with Bute Motorsport Ltd as our official partner in the UK will only help it spread wider.”
“We have been very impressed with Bute’s long term view and professional attitude and we are delighted to work together to develop the championship to its full potential.”
The LMP3 Cup Championship features 12 races at six different venues including Donington Park, Snetterton, Silverstone, Brands Hatch and Spa-Francorchamps.
It will run alongside the GT Cup Championship as part of Bute Motorsport’s MSVR-supported bill.
“This is a fantastic development for the championship,” added Bute Motorsport Director and Race Manager Hannah Wilson.
“We have received an excellent level of interest from team and drivers alike so it is shaping up nicely.”
“We now have the support of the ACO which is a fantastic endorsement for Bute and the way we do business. This announcement cements the LMP3 Cup Championship as the ‘go to’ series in the UK for prototype racers and we are very excited to get racing.”
The 2017 LMP3 Cup Championship gets underway at Donington Park on April 22-23.
2017 LMP3 Cup Championship Calendar
April 22-23 – Donington Park National
May 20-21 – Brands Hatch GP
June 9-11 – Spa-Francorchamps
July 1-2 – Silverstone GP
August 12-13 – Snetterton 300
September 16-17 – Donington Park GP