FIA World Endurance Championship team ARC Bratislava is set to run an Oreca 07 Gibson at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, removing one of two Ligier vehicles from the LMP2 grid.
The Slovakian outfit led by Mirko Konopka has declared plans to change LMP2 chassis for the fourth round of the season next month, after starting the campaign with a Ligier JS P217 Gibson.
ARC Bratislava has also confirmed that Matej Konopka will join his father Miro and British driver Oliver Webb in the No. 44 entry’s Le Mans driver lineup.
That trio will represent the team at this month’s Monza WEC race where ARC is currently listed to enter its Ligier, which has been run with support from Eurasia Motorsport.
“Even after the race in the Portuguese Algarve, it was clear to us that it would be very difficult or even impossible to complete a 24-hour race with Ligier, without technical support from the factory,” said Miro Konopka.
“So we had to start dealing with this situation very quickly. Fortunately, we succeeded. We will start the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the Oreca 07 Gibson.”
ARC started the season at Spa with Konopka teaming up with Darren Burke, who was subbing for Webb, and Tom Jackson. Webb then joined the crew for the 8 Hours of Portimao.
The teams’ first race ended before its Ligier could get to the grid due to an oil leak that occurred shortly before the start. At Portimao, ARC Bratislava registered its first points in the LMP2 Pro-Am classification but finished last in the overall category order.
“This year I tried to get another paying driver in the car to me and Oliver, but given the performance of the Ligier this season, it was very difficult,” said Konopka.
“And if someone has to drive with us without a budget, I would rather give a chance to someone from Slovakia.
“And my Mato has been showing for a long time that he has matured as a driver. Somehow I would like to symbolically pass on the scepter to the younger generation.”
ARC Bratislava’s switch to ORECA machinery for Le Mans means the only Ligier on the grid is the Racing Team India car which is operated by Eurasia.
Of the 25 cars signed up for the second-tier prototype class, 24 are now Oreca 07s.