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Glickenhaus Eyeing ‘Hypercar’ Project for 24H Le Mans

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus considering ‘hypercar’ prototype formula, cost-permitting…

Photo: 24H Media

James Glickenhaus has revealed interest in formulating a program under the new top-level prototype regulations for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but only if accessible budgets are guaranteed.

The U.S.-based automaker has long held ambitions to take Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus to the French endurance classic but has yet to find a place for his car in the existing rulebook.

SCG has competed at the Nürburgring 24 since 2011, claiming the outright pole in last year’s edition with the SCG 003C, and has ambitions to enter other well-known endurance events.

Glickenhaus believes that the new regs, which will see top-level prototypes incorporate a ‘hypercar’ design concept mounted on a four-wheel drive chassis tied to a single front-axle KERS system, is a “natural and wonderful direction” for the ACO and FIA to take.

“It would be attractive,” Glickenhaus told Sportscar365. “I think that given enough money, we would put on a pretty good show.

“We got the pole at the Nürburgring and for various reasons we haven’t won it yet, but we’re certainly capable of winning that race.

“Interestingly enough, we have the architecture of a car that could enter this class and do very well.”

To Glickenhaus, the introduction of a hypercar formula that would enable manufacturers to construct racing cars mimicking their road-based models is a step in the right direction for Le Mans.

“This is something that for a long time I have been talking about,” he said.

“In the 60s and 70s, and even up to the 90s with the GTP cars or GT1s, you had vehicles racing in the top class of Le Mans that looked like sports cars that enthusiasts or fans could one day aspire to own.

“Recently with the LMP1s, these cars became so hyper-technical that they really had much more connection to a fighter jet than they did to a car. They weren’t anything that a normal person ever thought about buying and driving on the road.

“This is a natural and wonderful direction that the ACO and FIA are going in.”

Should SCG commit, it would need to do so with a new race car rather than calling upon the N24-primed 003SC or the 004S, which will arrive next year.

However, some design elements and expertise would be carried over, notably its experience with hybrid systems on its first racing car, the P4/5 Competizione.

“It would be a completely new car,” explained Glickenhaus. “Having said that, we could fit a body that was evocative of one of our hypercars, either 003 or 004.

“We have an engine deal that could provide us with an engine, and we could certainly do the hybrid part of it.

“Podium [Engineering, which developed the SCG003C] already engineered a hybrid system for our P4/5 Competizione based on a Magneti Marelli Formula 1 system.

“The picture of what [the ACO] wants is basically our car. We would do a new sub-frame for the front that would house the KERS system, and we’d be good to go.

“If we had to engineer it from the ground up, we could do it.”

“Serious Budget” of 25 Million Euros 

Glickenhaus, however, has stressed the importance of an attainable budget for low-volume manufacturers that would enable a 2020-21 Le Mans program to materialize.

“We could do it, but what would the budget be to design, build and engineer a car that fits their rules, which I suspect are going to be long and complicated and difficult to crunch,” he said.

“Porsche spent $100 million a year at least [on LMP1] over the years, so it’s $25 million a year [for 2020-21 entrants].

“Then, how many races are they going to make you race? I guess they’d want you to race the whole WEC. You’re talking probably of a serious budget for a privateer of about 25 million.”

Glickenhaus added that low-volume constructors like SCG, which is limited to building 325 road cars per year, will struggle to raise those funds through sponsorship from major parts companies.

“The tire companies will sponsor major manufacturers to some extent because they’re going to sell them millions of tires each year,” he said.

“It’s very difficult for us to get traditional sponsors. We would get people exposure, but I think we would have to find a sponsor who is a little bit out of the box and is thinking, ‘this is a chance for an American team, a car built in America’.

“The other thing is that we could offer a privateer who would want to put up a lot of money, a chance to own one of the two cars.

“That said, we would have to raise a lot of money to be able to do it.”

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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