Multi-year development program with Ligier LMP3
Mooresville, NC (14 October 2020) – Jr III Racing is looking to move up, but not just yet. Following the announcement that the new specification LMP3 Prototypes would be eligible to compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Jr III Racing (“Junior Three”) began evaluating what it would take to make that move. Based in Mooresville, North Carolina, the team has fielded and prepared cars in vintage competition for years and expanded to the IMSA Prototype Challenge (IPC) at the end of the 2019 season with a pair of exploratory outings that netted them a Bronze Cup win. The team has supported the father-son duo of Greg and Eric Palmer in the No. 3 Copps Industries Ligier in 2020 in IMSA Prototype Challenge competition. Led by ex-Hendrick Motorsports man Billy Glavin, the team has established a reputation for thorough preparation, and that same methodology applies to his approach to future expansion.
“Having the LMP3 cars eligible for WeatherTech is exciting news,” said Glavin. “We think that this is a great way for us to be a part of the big show, but in working through how we would get there, it doesn’t make sense for us to make that leap just yet. Daytona (Rolex 24) is just over 100 days away! I didn't want to do anything that would jeopardize our IPC program that is already in place, and I wouldn’t want to put a (WeatherTech) program together just to be there. It has to be a program that is capable of winning races, so we are working on building up to it.” That build up will begin with the team taking delivery of the first new spec Ligier JS P320 next week. “We are eager to get the car in hand and start working with it,” said Glavin. “There is a good bit more performance with the car and the Palmers are looking forward to continuing to develop with this new car in Prototype Challenge.” That development is one that Glavin sees as critical to progress, both for the drivers and the teams to support them. “We are working on what is essentially a two-year development program to get to WeatherTech,” said Glavin. “For drivers that are getting comfortable with the LMP3 cars, the IMSA Prototype Challenge is a great place to do that. You can focus on driving the car, racing the car, and working on your craft without having to be concerned about racing in a multi-class field. Prototype Challenge is perfect for that, so when a driver does decide to make that move, they are already comfortable with the car and are prepared to compete in WeatherTech.”
While the 2021 Jr III Racing plan is set to see the return of Greg and Eric Palmer, the team is still hoping to fill the seat in its second Ligier. “The Palmers have been great—they came into Prototypes from Global Mazda MX-5 Cup and Porsche GT3 Cup, so they didn’t really have any experience with cars that have such aero capability like the LMP3s do,” said Glavin. “But they’ve made progress every time out, and I think they really love driving and racing these Ligiers. Both the Palmers and the team are excited about our prospects in a second full season of IPC together as both drivers het more comfortable prototype racing at the IPC tracks.” Focused on developing the team and infrastructure to deliver a race-ready campaign in WeatherTech in the future, Glavin has continued to pursue a range of driver pairings for 2021 that would see the squad expand to two cars in IMSA Prototype Challenge. “We have been working with Mike Skeen as a coach, and he has impressed us every time that he’s been in these cars, so he would make a good co-driver if that opportunity developed,” said Glavin. “We are focused on having the right people in place to do it properly and this announcement from IMSA and the structure that has been created is ideal for us to do exactly that. When we decided that we wanted to develop a professional racing program, we looked at all the options and IMSA had the most to offer in terms of opportunity, and that is even more true now with this structure so we are excited and just have our heads down to be able to build and get to that point."
Jr III Racing will be back in action at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta for the IMSA Prototype Challenge season finale October 15-17 before heading to Daytona International Speedway for the Classic 24 November 5-8.
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