In 2006, International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) unveiled the Lites class for single seat prototype race cars.
This series ran as a support event to the American Le Mans Series (ALMS).
It served as a training ground for drivers and teams that wanted to move up to the ALMS.
There were three categories (L1, L2 and L3) in the first season. The weight of these sports racers and engine type and displacement determined their classification.
The series underwent changes in 2017 and was renamed IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda. IMSA officials also introduced a new category. The championship had two classes:
The season opened at the historic 12-Hours of Sebring.
It was followed by Barber Motorsports Park, Watkins Glen, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Trois-Rivieres and concluded at Road Atlanta
during the Petit Le Man weekend. During a race weekend, drivers compete in two forty-five-minute races.
Rounds five and six of the new IMSA Performance Challenge series would be held at Watkins Glen International.
Drivers would battle in two forty-five minute contests around the 3.337–mile eleven-turn road course.
The season opened at the historic 12-Hours of Sebring. It was followed by Barber Motorsports Park, Watkins Glen, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Trois-Rivieres and concluded at Road Atlanta during the Petit Le Man weekend. During a race weekend, drivers compete in two forty-five-minute races.
Rounds five and six of the new IMSA Performance Challenge series would be held at Watkins Glen International. Drivers would battle in two forty-five minute contests around the 3.337–mile eleven-turn road course.
|Round five of the IMSA Performance Challenge at Watkins Glen International. A field of twenty-three drivers (eight LMP3 entries and fifteen Mazda Prototype Challenge entries) enter the final turn on the pace lap. Leading the way is the pole-sitter Colin Thompson in a Norma M30. Sharing the front row with Thompson is the No. 8 Ligier JS P3 driven by Kenton Koch.|
|At the end of the qualifying session, Kyle Masson topped the Mazda Prototype Challenge time sheet in the No. 18 Elan DP02. Masson led the category until he had an incident on lap-9 and fell to last place. He continued and worked his way through the field, finishing third in class. In miserable conditions the following day, Masson redeemed himself by finishing first in class and second overall.|
|Qualifying on the pole for the weekend’s first event was Colin Thompson. Thompson was driving the Kelly-Moss Road and Race prepared Norma M30 - this was the only Norma entered in the LMP3 category. He would lead race one flag-to-flag and close the points gap on the series leader, Andreas Gutierrez. Thompson started on the pole Saturday but spun the car in the wet conditions and finished third in class.|
|Series regular, Michal Chlumecky drove the Eurosport Racing Elan DP02. In round five, Chlumecky was gridded second in the Mazda Prototype Challenge class but finished fourteenth. The wet conditions on Saturday appeared to agree with him. Chlumecky started ninth but at the checkered flag, he was fourth overall, second in class and winner of the Masters category.|
|Point’s leader, Andreas Gutierrez raced a Ligier JS P3 prepared by Performance Tech Motorsports. Gutierrez started and finished third in Friday’s contest. The following day, heavy rain and a poor decision by his competition worked to Gutierrez’s advantage. Colin Thompson’s spin and the wrong choice of tires by Kenton Koch allowed him to win and increase his lead in the championship standings.|
|Former IMSA Lites champion, Kenton Koch drove No. 8 Ligier JS P3. In round five, Koch shared the front row with the pole-sitter, Colin Thompson. He chased Thompson the entire contest but could not pass. At the end of 45-minutes of racing, Koch was in second place. For the second event of the weekend, he gambled and chose dry tires – hoping that the rain would stop. Conditions got worse and Koch pitted for rain tires – he finished seventh in class.|
|Tazio Ottis finished second, to his JDC Motorsports teammate, Kris Wright in round five. On Saturday, the driver of the No. 72 Elan DP02 started tenth overall and fourth in the Mazda Prototype Challenge category. At the conclusion of the very wet race, he was fifth in class and ninth overall.|
|Taking advantage of Tyler Masson’s misfortune in race one was second fastest Mazda Prototype Challenge competitor, Kris Wright. On lap-10, he inherited the lead and captured his first series win. Wright was gridded seventh for round six and second in class. He lost a position to Michal Chlumecky and grabbed the last spot on the Mazda Prototype Challenge podium.|
|The No. 75 CWR Charles Wicht Racing Ligier JS P3 was driven by James Dayson. Dayson recorded the six quickest LMP3 time in qualifying for round five. Problems for Naj Husain allowed him to inherit a fifth place finish. Torrential rain the following day worked in his favour and allowed him to move up the race order and take the runner-up position.|
|1||LMP3||Colin Thompson||Norma M30||20||-|
|2||LMP3||Kenton Koch||Ligier JS P3||20||-|
|3||LMP3||Andres Gutierrez||Ligier JS P3||20||-|
|4||LMP3||Robby Foley||Ligier JS P3||20||-|
|5||LMP3||James Dayson||Ligier JS P3||20||-|
|6||MPC||Kris Wright||Elan DP02||20||-|
|7||MPC||Tazio Ottis||Elan DP02||20||-|
|8||MPC||Kyle Masson||Elan DP02||20||-|
|9||MPC||Don Yount||Elan DP02||20||-|
|10||LMP3||Matthew Dicken||Ligier JS P3||20||-|
|11||MPC||Robert Masson||Elan DP02||20||-|
|12||MPC||Gary Gibson||Elan DP02||20||-|
|13||LMP3||Paul Fix||Ave-Riley AR2||20||-|
|14||MPC||Jon Brownson||Elan DP02||20||-|
|15||MPC||Stuart Rettie||Elan DP02||20||-|
|16||MPC||Paul La Haye||Elan DP02||20||-|
|17||MPC||Joel Janco||Elan DP02||20||-|
|18||MPC||Tim George||Elan DP02||20||-|
|19||MPC||Stephen Dawes||Elan DP02||20||-|
|20||MPC||Howard Jacobs||Elan DP02||19||-|
|21||MPC||Michal Chlumecky||Elan DP02||15||-|
|22||LMP3||Naj Husain||Ligier JS P3||5||-|
|23||MPC||Jay Salmon||Elan DP02||1||-|
|24||LMP3||Robert La Rocca||Ligier JS P3||0||Did Not Start|
|1||LMP3||Andres Gutierrez||Ligier JS P3||14||-|
|2||MPC||Kyle Masson||Elan DP02||14||-|
|3||LMP3||James Dayson||Ligier JS P3||14||-|
|4||MPC||Michal Chlumecky||Elan DP02||14||-|
|5||MPC||Kris Wright||Elan DP02||14||-|
|6||LMP3||Colin Thompson||Norma M30||14||-|
|7||MPC||Stuart Rettie||Elan DP02||14||-|
|8||LMP3||Naj Husain||Ligier JS P3||14||-|
|9||MPC||Tazio Ottis||Elan DP02||14||-|
|10||MPC||Gary Gibson||Elan DP02||14||-|
|11||MPC||Robert Masson||Elan DP02||14||-|
|12||MPC||Paul La Haye||Elan DP02||14||-|
|13||LMP3||Matthew Dicken||Ligier JS P3||14||-|
|14||MPC||Stephen Dawes||Elan DP02||14||-|
|15||MPC||Howard Jacobs||Elan DP02||14||-|
|16||LMP3||Paul Fix||Ave-Riley AR2||14||-|
|17||MPC||Joel Janco||Elan DP02||13||-|
|18||LMP3||Kenton Koch||Ligier JS P3||13||-|
|19||MPC||Tim George||Elan DP02||13||-|
|20||LMP3||Robby Foley||Ligier JS P3||12||-|
|21||MPC||Jon Brownson||Elan DP02||7||-|
|22||MPC||Don Yount||Elan DP02||3||-|
|23||MPC||Jay Salmon||Elan DP02||0||-|
|24||LMP3||Robert La Rocca||Ligier JS P3||0||Did Not Start|
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