Last year, the FFSA (Fédération française de l’Automobile) created the first French Prototype Championship comprised of GT3s and LMP3s. With only nine cars in its inaugural race, the organisers quickly decided to put an end to the newly created championship.
A few months after this debacle, the SRO announced the creation of the 2017 GT4 European Series Southern Cup, which has since been recognised by the FFSA as the new French GT Championship.
Jean-Philippe Dayrault and Jean-Christophe Canavesio have now confirmed the launch of a French Sprint Prototype Series called the ProtoSprint Trophée, with races including LMP3 and CN cars. Operations Manager Jean-Christophe Canavesio recently presented this new series to DSC.
Jean-Christophe, why did you decide to create the ProtoSprint Trophee?
“A few months ago, there were essentially two places where teams could race LMP3 cars: the ELMS and in the VdeV championships. Things have changed somewhat with the GT3 Le Mans Cup and a few other series opening up their grids. As endurance racing is growing and becoming more popular, we believe there is room for a sprint series in France. Look at the numbers: Ligier has sold ten JSP3s in less than a year, and we are aware of twenty to thirty cars planned for production by Norma. Riley has ambitions too. This is going to be a continuous trend as we see more drivers swapping from GTs and even single seaters to LMP3s. These prototypes are relatively easy to drive, actually easier to manage than CNs, and are cost efficient. On top of it, the LMP3 allows you to dream about reaching a higher prototype category and possibly the 24 Hours of Le Mans. ”
How do you hope team owners will react to the creation of your new series?
“For our first year, we are looking at a grid with no less than seven or eight LMP3s and eight to ten CNs. From year two onwards, the mix LMP3/CN should evolve favourably towards LMP3s. We believe that LMP3 owners need to offer more driving time for their gentlemen drivers. They also need to get more value for their investments. This Trophee is the right training ground before aiming towards the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup or the ELMS. ”
Can you tell us about the format of a typical race weekend?
“The ProtoSprint Trophée will be part of the Sprint Serie race weekends, including other series such as the FFSA Tourism Championship or the Mitjet 2L Championship.
“There will be two free practice sessions of twenty-five minutes each, followed by a qualifying session lasting two times twelve minutes. Then there will be two races of fifty minutes, including one obligatory pit stop.”
Will you reward LMP3s and CNs separately?
“Yes, we will have an LMP3 category and a CN category. Three titles will be awarded per category: a title for the best pro driver line-up and similar titles for Pro-Am and Am driver line-ups. The prize for the overall LMP3 winner will be an automatic entry in the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup. The ACO supports our Trophée.”
The ProtoSprint Trophée will include the following seven races:
Ledenon (France) – 22-23 April
Motorland Aragon (Spain) – 21-22nd May
Paul Ricard (France) – 9, 10 and 11 June
Val De Vienne (France) – 1-2 July
Albi (France) – 9-10 September
Spa (Belgium) – 29-30 September and 1 October
Nogaro (France) – 28-29th October