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ARC Bratislava Pulls Plug on LMP2 Program

ARC Bratislava pulls plug on LMP2 program after not securing 24H Le Mans entry…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

ARC Bratislava has pulled the plug on its LMP2 program after not securing a confirmed entry for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Miro Konopka-led operation became the first Slovak team to compete in the race in 2017, although has been placed as the eighth reserve for this year’s French endurance classic with a Ligier JS P217 Gibson.

Konopka, who has fielded entries in the Asian Le Mans Series for the last two seasons, finished third in the 2017/18 LMP2 championship, an achievement he feels should have qualified the team for a return to the race this year.

A total of four entries from ALMS teams have been granted, including LMP2 cars from Algarve Pro Racing and Eurasia Motorsport and two auto-invites to Jackie Chan DC Racing, courtesy of its LMP2 and LMP3 class titles.

KCMG, which fielded a Ligier JS P3 Nissan in the 2017/18 season, meanwhile, has been granted the first reserve entry.

“We are in 8th with little chance of starting,” Konopka said. “Maybe I don’t understand the selection criteria, but I think there are other criteria, some of them having a more political aspect.”

As a result, Konopka said his team’s LMP2 program will now come to an end.

“For us, the chapter of the LMP2 category seems to end definitively,” he said. “It currently does not make sense. 

“I participate in motorsport out of passion; it’s not my business and there are few of us in Le Mans, or maybe I’m the only one.

“For 99 percent of the teams, it’s a difficult business and they may have found another way to submit an entry. Those who finished behind us in Asia were [accepted]. 

“Le Mans as a Slovak team is a closing chapter for me.”

Despite claiming to have an offer to compete in the race with another team, Konopka said he will likely now forgo the event entirely, despite having an “unfinished mission” to settle following his team’s debut last year.

“I really want to thank Slovak and Czech fans who supported our project,” he said. “I also want to thank all my team who did a lot. I am really sorry for them.”

Increased Demand for Le Mans Entries

This year’s event has seen an increased demand, with a number of teams, in addition to ARC Bratislava, also currently on the sidelines.

ACO President Pierre Fillon told Sportscar365 last month that the Selection Committee would have a “big challenge” in determining the 60 entries, compared to recent years.

It’s understood less than 65 entry requests were submitted for the 201 7 event, compared to what’s believed to be upwards of 80 entries this year.

A number of other longtime Le Mans entrants, such as Krohn Racing and former GTE-Am class winners Scuderia Corsa, are also currently on the reserve list, mostly due to the influx of LMP1 and GTE-Pro entries, which have taken priority.

However, Sportscar365 understands that at least one confirmed entry is up in the air.  

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Blaneysellstrashbags@Ring24

    February 11, 2018 at 10:04 am

    John is there a stipulation that says DC racing could not use all of their auto invites?

    • John Dagys

      February 11, 2018 at 10:06 am

      No. They’ve done everything within the rules.

  2. Gaucherie

    February 11, 2018 at 10:48 am

    No disrespect intended towards ARC, but when compared to pretty much every other LMP2 entry, his team and BAR 1 were last reserves for a pretty good reason.

  3. Steven

    February 11, 2018 at 11:40 am

    They showed little to no speed last year at Le Mans. Finished 3rd in class in the ALMS which had 5 LMP2 entries. Instead of pulling the plug, Go to the ELMS and try to build a solid program there and maybe then you will be reselected to Le Mans. The ACO likes to get the best teams possible for the 60 car field.

    • Mike D.

      February 11, 2018 at 8:35 pm

      In fairness, if they gave DC Racing the AsLMS auto invite for winning LMP2, and gave Algarve Pro and Eurasia both entries from that 5 car LMP2 field, while ARC Bratislava finished 3rd in the class, well that means someone even slower got an invite, doesn’t it?

      • Ug-Min Lahk

        February 12, 2018 at 11:35 am

        Despite looking that way, that’s not the full picture. Both Eurasia and especially Algarve Pro have been regulars, running both the ELMS and the ALMS in previous seasons (the latter even had the auto invite from ALMS last season). The ACO does give some importance to faithful teams who keep showing up and I reckon that was what made a difference on this particular choice – albeit slower, they had precedence status.

  4. Davy

    February 12, 2018 at 5:28 am

    Funny how the utterly incompetent Bykolles team gets an invite, while passionate and competitive P2s do not.

    • Sham_Poser

      February 12, 2018 at 6:57 am

      Incompetent or not, ByKolles is a full-season WEC LMP1 team.

  5. Big Robbo

    February 14, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    ByKolles would always get the nod because the ACO want everybody and anybody running an lmp1no matter how good they are

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