Romain Dumas says Glickenhaus is “getting better” with its SCG 007 Le Mans Hypercar after lapping within sight of Toyota and Alpine in qualifying for the 6 Hours of Monza.
Both of the SCG 007 non-hybrid prototypes cleared the LMP2 pack in all three Monza practice sessions, before ending up fourth and fifth in qualifying on Saturday evening.
Pipo Derani set a time of 1:36.686 in the No. 708 Glickenhaus, which put the Brazilian within eight-tenths of Jose Maria Lopez’s pole effort in the No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid.
Glickenhaus made its WEC debut in the 8 Hours of Portimao last month with a single 007 driven by Dumas, Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe, however the team struggled to find its feet during the race.
Its issues largely stemmed from high brake temperatures heating up the car’s rear tires, while a clutch replacement confined the Pipo-engined car to its garage for an hour.
Dumas told Sportscar365 that while Glickenhaus remains conscious of its steep WEC learning curve, it is having a significantly better event at Monza than it did at Portimao.
“For sure the track feels better,” said the double 24 Hours of Le Mans winner. “It’s not as difficult as Portimao, which was the hardest track to start on. We are closer, this is clear.
“Already in Portimao, I said we would be in front of the LMP2s [at Monza] and we are in front of the LMP2s.
“We are making some progress, compared to Portimao, in terms of the car. But for sure we still have progress to do.
“Performance-wise I think we are set between five-tenths to one second to the Toyota, with the speeds they are showing.
“Straight at the first practice yesterday when I drove, we were six-tenths off. In qualifying we were seven-tenths off. I think it’s getting better.”
Glickenhaus is familiar with Monza having tested there during the SCG 007’s pre-homologation development phase, although the car was running in a different specification to what is now seen in WEC competition.
Dumas reckons that either of the SCGs could “keep the contact” with the Hypercar pace during the first stint of Sunday’s race at the Italian Grand Prix venue.
“What is possible over two stints with the same tires, I don’t know,” he said. “But in the last practice, we had good speed on a used set.
“It was nice to drive. I think we could follow the pack. Keep the contact for possibly 10, 12 or 15 laps.
“After, we don’t know what we will do with the tires. We don’t have enough experience and feedback about that. For all these things, we will know more in the race.
“At Portimao the biggest issue was the brake temperatures getting so high. From that, we were cooking the rear tires.
“In the race we went better and better, when we understood what we have to do. We were able to double stint at Portimao with a decent speed, but not as good as here.
“I’m quite confident that we could arrive to do two stints in a better way.”
An added challenge for the Podium Advanced Technologies-supported Glickenhaus team this weekend is the simultaneous operation of two SCG 007 LMHs.
“This is the first time ever,” said Dumas. “After Portimao, on the Tuesday I was at Podium and I was telling them, it will be a mess with two cars. But actually, it is running a lot smoother than I was expecting.
“People are getting closer and know each other. Again, you cannot compare a team that is doing a 30-hour test before coming here. Step by step, but we are not going backward.
“We are going forward, and we are not stopping. We are still going. I think it’s quite a good surprise [compared to] what Toyota want to show us.”
Toyota Gazoo Racing technical director Pascal Vasselon said after qualifying that he was impressed by the progress of Glickenhaus since Portimao, where the sole SCG 007 qualified behind seven LMP2s and 1.8 seconds away from the pole figure.
“I think the progress of Glickenhaus compared to Portimao is impressive,” said Vasselon.
“We have seen during the sessions, many times they were lapping very close to us.”