ARC Bratislava is set to complete the FIA World Endurance Championship season with its new Oreca 07 Gibson, which is due to debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in August.
ARC started the campaign with a Ligier JS P217 Gibson (pictured) but announced earlier this month that the car will be replaced by an Oreca for the headline round at Le Mans.
Team owner and driver Miro Konopka told Sportscar365 at the 6 Hours of Monza that ARC also plans to field the Oreca at the last two rounds of the season in Bahrain.
ARC Bratislava is the only team running the Ligier in the WEC’s LMP2 class this year, meaning that all-Oreca fields are to be expected for the Bahrain double-header.
The team’s Oreca chassis was purchased second-hand from the SPS Automotive Performance squad, which is best known for running Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos.
“There was no chance for a brand-new chassis,” said Konopka. “I looked all over the market and ORECA could only give me a brand-new chassis in September, after Le Mans.
“I bought one from SPS in Germany. There was some gentleman driver using it for track days, but the car had never run a race.
“The car will be sent to Bahrain for the final, for both races. I will run full-season, I promise. After it, we concentrate for Asian Le Mans and wait a little bit to see how it will be with the calendar.”
ARC Bratislava’s Ligier failed to make the start of the Spa season-opener after an oil leak on race day morning, while in Portimao the car ran at the foot of the LMP2 category.
Konopka hopes that switching to the ORECA will give ARC a better chance to gain some positions in the LMP2 Pro-Am pack.
“I never will be the winner, but I want to be nearly in the middle of the [LMP2 class],” he said.
“Not last every time by two seconds. I think Oliver [Webb] is a driver which can be in the middle of the [qualifying]. If I give him a better car, I think he has a chance.”
ARC Bratislava’s Oreca is currently being worked on at the French chassis constructor’s Paul Ricard headquarters, where it is being given a new engine and gearbox.
Konopka is unsure if the team will get to test its Oreca before Le Mans but is planning to rent out the Brno circuit in August, which could present an opportunity.
It’s currently unclear if Eurasia Motorsport will continue to provide technical support to the ARC program once the Oreca arrives.
When asked what will happen to the ARC Bratislava Ligier after this weekend’s race at Monza, Konopka said: “I will give the engine back to Gibson and the car will stay.
“Maybe we wait for the calendar and information about Asian Le Mans.
“If [the] ORECA will be in Bahrain and come back in December, and I send my car to Asian Le Mans at the end of December, maybe I will start with my Ligier in Asian Le Mans.
“It’s an idea, but it’s still open. Nobody knows how the calendar will be and quarantines.”