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Glickenhaus Delays LMH Debut to Spa; Rollout this Month

SCG 007 LMH set to debut at Spa as team opts to forgo Sebring season-opener in March…

Photo: SCG

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus has confirmed that it won’t contest the 1000 Miles of Sebring in March and will instead aim to debut its in-development Le Mans Hypercar in round two of the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship at Spa-Francorchamps.

American automaker SCG is focusing on homologating its new top-category prototype and ensuring that its two-car entry is fully prepared before it joins the WEC grid at the 6 Hours of Spa in early May, according to the company’s founder Jim Glickenhaus.

The team’s initial plan was to contest the full 2021 season starting in mid-March.

Glickenhaus explained that taking the necessary time to homologate the car – combined with uncertainty over how the coronavirus pandemic might evolve and impact the WEC’s visit to Sebring – influenced the team’s decision to forgo the season-opening race.

LMH competitor Toyota is expected to compete in the eight-hour Sebring enduro, along with Alpine Endurance Team which is fielding an ORECA-built LMP1 car next season.

Sebring marks the first race for the WEC’s new Hypercar class, which is currently open to the next-generation LMH cars as well as grandfathered LMP1 machinery.

“One [reason for missing Sebring] is that we think the WEC is going to cancel it, but that’s just my opinion and I don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Glickenhaus.

“But secondly: to race, you have to homologate. To homologate, you have to lock the car and go into the Sauber wind tunnel and confirm that the car meets the regulations.

“It’s in our interest to test as much as possible before we do that, and to get the car exactly where we want it.

“For us to commit to Sebring, basically they would be shipping the cars in six weeks from now. I don’t think it’s going to happen.

“The ACO know we’re not going to Sebring. And they’re happy with that, because they want us to have a good car to begin with.”

SCG and its engineering partner Podium Advanced Technologies are currently building the first 007, which will soon be rolled out and put through the homologation process.

An initial rollout is anticipated to take place in the middle of this month, marking a slight delay from the previous Jan. 5 estimation.

SCG is also aiming to conduct extensive testing with LMH tire supplier Michelin, including a 30-hour endurance run, before announcing its squad of drivers in mid-March.

“We’re building up the first chassis,” said Glickenhaus. “The second tub should be arriving this week, so we will begin building up the second chassis.

“We’re going to roll the car out in January and then we’re going to do a lot of testing and driver stuff in February.

“That is going to lock the car and drivers – six or seven of them – and then we’re going to homologate the car.”

Glickenhaus expressed optimism that SCG’s non-hybrid car will be able to compete with the hybrid Toyota LMH, based on analysis of the completed tire simulations.

“The advantage that the hybrid cars will have – and this only applies to the LMH hybrids – is that being all-wheel-drive, you have less tire degradation,” he explained.

“We think that the ACO and the WEC are going to be very fair with us. I think they really want to see us be competitive, and I think Toyota does too.

“We’ve both done simulations and, to be honest, I think they did a very honest simulation, and I know we did.

“We’re both where the WEC and ACO want us to be, with the tires. Michelin will improve that as time goes by, so we’ll probably get four stints.

“But it’s going to be a proving ground exercise for all of us, the first couple of races.”

Lineup to Involve Mixture of Youth, Experience

In terms of driver selection, Glickenhaus indicated that his team is searching for a “combination” of drivers that will bring different sources of experience from the WEC, prototype racing and SCG machinery.

Ex-Ford GT driver Richard Westbrook represented the team in last year’s Nürburgring 24, while Glickenhaus hinted that the Brit “may be involved” in the LMH project.

No drivers have been confirmed for the program, which is being supported by 15-time Le Mans winner Joest Racing and Sauber which has developed the 007’s aerodynamics.

“I think it’s fair to say that people who drive in LMH will be from Formula 1, LMP1 or LMP2 backgrounds,” said Glickenhaus.

“It will be a mix of very experienced pilots and young, fast, up-and-coming guys.

“Getting top drivers in today’s world, who want to win Le Mans, it’s not a difficult task. We’ve had some surprising names who want to test, and we’ll have great drivers. That won’t be a problem.

“We’re going to be testing people in February, all the way through to March. By March we’ll make a decision.

“The only thing that’s an issue is the COVID situation. We hope to use guys from the U.S, but it just may not be practical until transatlantic travel straightens out. Until people get vaccines, that could be difficult.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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