Given the success of the Le Mans Prototype 3 category the Automobile Club de l’Ouest’s Sport Committee has decided to increase the number of constructors to meet the growth of the market. Thus, it has selected a sixth chassis constructor, Norma, to supply cars to the category in the continental championships, the European and Asian Le Mans Series. The names of the six constructors are as follows: Norma (France), Ginetta (UK), Onroak Automotive (France), Riley Technologies (USA), Adess AG (Germany) and Dome (Japan).
The new category of cars created by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the LM P3s, was introduced in the 2015 Le Mans endurance season. These sports prototypes give new teams and drivers access to the first step on the endurance pyramid put in place by the ACO, and also attract gentlemen drivers who wish to start prototype racing.
The philosophy behind these cars is to reduce budgetary, technical, driving and running constraints to the minimum. This new category was an almost immediate success among constructors and teams. In its first year seven LM P3s were entered for the European Le Mans Series and three for the Asian Le Mans Series. In 2016, the number of cars in the ELMS has tripled reaching twenty-one, while in the Asian Le Mans Series the 2016/2017 season looks very promising as at least double the number of LM P3s is expected. Early on four chassis constructors, Ginetta, Onroak Automotive, Riley Technologies and Adess AG, were homologated by the ACO.
Last year because of the number of requests received the ACO also homologated Japanese constructor Dome. As the LM P3 category proved an immediate success and the growth potential of the market exploded, the club decided to re-open the selection process to companies that had previously sent in an entry for the selection of the fifth constructor. Thus, French car builder, Norma, has been chosen as the sixth and last constructor for the LM P3 category. The ACO is delighted to be able to count on Norma to expand the offer in the LM P3 category.
This French racing car constructor, based in the south west of France, was founded in 1986 by Norbert Santos. The first Norma prototypes were designed with hill climbs and circuit racing in mind, and they very soon scored their first victories in France and in Europe. In the 1990s the French constructor’s renown began to spread, in particular in the United States, where Norma has a branch in Florida (Norma North America). In 2003, the company launched the Norma M20, one of the highest-produced, most versatile sports prototypes in the world, which is updated on an on-going basis. Today Norma is taking up the LM P3 challenge.
The design of the car is already at an advanced stage, and the constructor is aiming to have one or more Norma LM P3s racing before the end of the season. A reminder: Oreca is looking after the customer service linked to the engine, a normally-aspirated 420 bhp V8 developed by Nissan/Nismo, which is the same for all chassis. X-trac supplies the gearboxes and Magneti Marelli the electronics.