The new ACO/FIA-spec LMP3 challenger from Tony Ave and Riley Technologies is weeks away from its first test. Once the Nissan-powered AR-2 chassis hits the track, it will become the third active P3 chassis, joining Ginetta and Ligier.
“It’s coming along quickly,” Bill Riley said. “We get the tub in one week, it’s being done by Elan Technologies. And we get our engine kit in two weeks, so once we have everything, we’ll start putting the first car together and start testing as soon as we can. September is our target.”
At approximately $225,000, the cost-capped AR-2 P3 is designed for competition in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS), Asian Le Mans Series (AsLMS), various regional Pro-Am championships and, as Ave and Riley hope, the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA). With P3 serving as a potential replacement for IMSA’s ORECA FLM09 PC cars in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship, IMSA arranged an introductory test using Ginetta’s new P3 challenger at the Watkins Glen circuit in June. The test did not go according to plan, and left many PC entrants looking to other solutions for their next chassis and engine combination.
Given the chance to showcase the AR-2 at a level of performance similar to PC, Riley believes PC owners and drivers would be more enthusiastic about the class.
“I would hope to have that opportunity,” he said. “That test didn’t go as well; Watkins Glen is a hard place to get a first-time setup right, but we’re hoping to have a chance to show IMSA team owners our car. It was great for Ginetta to bring a car over for that test, and if IMSA wants to do a second test, we’d love to help them with it. I know these cars can be fast and comparable to what they have now.”
Riley also sees the AR-2 as an option for domestic racing clubs like the SCCA, NASA, and for anyone wanting a pro-grade prototype for high performance driving events.
“I think P3 will be a good seller here in the US for track day use, especially at the P3 budget range,” he explained. “It’s going to be a perfect car for the track-day customer who wants something fast but doesn’t want to race. It’s going to be low-maintenance, high-speed, and very safe. I think it’s perfect for that market, and also for the guys who want to win the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, or sprint racing, or wherever. It’s a very adaptable kind of class and car.”
With plans to sell the car in Europe to ELMS customers, and to amateurs and enthusiasts in America, Riley will have to wait and see if their P3 has a place at home in IMSA.
“That’s not really up to me to decide,” he noted. “We obviously want the car to find its way into IMSA, but that’s up to them to decide.”
In addition to their AR-2 P3 chassis, Riley Technologies, in partnership with Multimatic, was also chosen as one of the four official 2017 LMP2 constructors by the ACO, FIA, and IMSA.
The fourth current LMP3 Manufacturer, Adess is also in the process of completing their first car with partner team G-Private Racing recently posting pictures on social media of their first car under construction.
Marshall Pruett/ GG