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.