Goodwood will be hosting a Le Mans Prototype demonstration at its 77th Members’ Meeting event in March.
It’s the most modern high-speed demo line-up at either of the Goodwood Motor Circuit events. The cars will also be running into the dusk, with headlights on, in a nod to their 24-hour racing history.
Next year marks 20 years of LMP racing, as well as the curtain-call for this class of car. It seems appropriate, therefore, for Goodwood to host the cars, just as their class transitions from contemporary to historic. It’s also a fitting tribute, given LMP is the longest-running and most successful top-level endurance category.
As such, everything from the late 90s cars to the modern Porsches, Audis and Toyotas are expected to be take part. For a class derided for its function-over-form aesthetics, LMP has enjoyed a great deal of variation over these past two decades, both in terms of powertrains and body styles.
LMPs have been both open and closed cockpit, and been powered by hybrids, diesels, turbos and naturally-aspirated engines.
“Le Mans Prototypes are some of the fastest racing cars in the world, and some of the most fascinating,” said Matt Hearn, Motorsport Content Manager at Goodwood.
“What other race has no restriction on engine type and has seen victories for petrol, diesel and hybrid cars in just a quarter of a century?”
It should surely make for a fascinating demonstration and the ultimate opportunity compare cars from across 20 years, up close.
Perhaps their enduring legacy, as it should be, is that they’re some of the fastest endurance racers ever conceived. Top-level lap records have been claimed by the outgoing batch of cars at endurance calendar circuits across the globe. Those times aren’t expected to tumble when the successor to LMP comes along.
LMP’s days are now numbered. Production-related GTP cars are due to take over the top spot a couple of years from now. Lower budgets and a more tangible link to road cars should, it’s hoped, attract a great deal more manufacturer involvement.
Almost all the major LMP contenders are gone, with the two defining marques, Audi and Porsche, bowing out over the past couple of years.