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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 and e-racing365, with a focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship and various electric racing series.

23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Slicks in the wet

    June 26, 2018 at 9:29 am

    I’m torn on if boutique manufacturers should be allowed in top class.

    On one hand, you could get classic small team radical thinking challenging the goliaths.

    On the other, I’m sure a real company won’t put up with the series long if they are beat by small fish.

    • MrMuffins

      June 26, 2018 at 10:02 am

      The boutique car brands could be the new Matras and Lolas which in the old days raced against the Porsches, Fords and Ferraris.

      • Andy Flinn

        June 26, 2018 at 9:23 pm

        MrMuffins, didn’t Matra have significant support from Chrysler? I know they had an F1 operation and ties to Gitanes cigarettes.

    • Andy Flinn

      June 26, 2018 at 9:19 pm

      Slicks, Rondeau almost beat Porsche for the WSC (WEC) title in 1982.

      Some say the powers that be feared awarding its world championship to a “boutique” team from France.

    • John

      June 26, 2018 at 10:23 pm

      With the basic struggle to attract entries to the top class, especially a new one, the FIA/ACO aren’t really in a position to deny entry to anyone capable of fielding a compliant car.

      Would you still feel torn if somebody like a Panoz was denied?

      He, too was an entrepreneur who liked racing enough to spend his wealth of some quirky, yet awesome race cars that challenged the big OEMs, with some boutique road cars on the side.

      His efforts had much support, appreciation, and only added to the mix.

      • Slicks in the wet

        June 27, 2018 at 7:52 am

        I agree we need entries

        But the landscape of racing today may not support that model of the past

        We have to cater to the fragile psyche of big factory efforts…right?

    • Me

      July 25, 2018 at 8:17 pm

      Mclearn, lola, lotus, tyrell, williams,.. etc..
      they were all once those little boutique teams as well racing in top teirs.
      I say, let them in. let them dance with the top level manufacturers. thats one of the best parts about racing imo

  2. Prototype 1

    June 26, 2018 at 9:49 am

    Maybe Glickenhaus use the 004c as the GTP car and maybe, use the 003c in GT3 if the GT3 cars go to Le Mans.

    • Luna

      June 27, 2018 at 7:38 am

      Glickenhaus is only a spoiled rich brat. He dreams.
      FIA and SRO have introduced a minimum production for GT3. He will never do that. He has only a bunch of prototypes everyobe different from the others.
      And for the hypercsrs ACO and FIA want manufacturers… not clowns.

      • Jess Deacon

        June 27, 2018 at 10:51 am

        I dont think you can call Glickenhaus a spoiled rich guy. He is spending his own money. The Hypercar is right up his alley. There is no minimum number of cars required. It is a prototype. I assume you must be planning on joining the party since you are knocking someone else. Are you spending your own money?

      • Mike D.

        June 27, 2018 at 7:57 pm

        > And for the hypercsrs ACO and FIA want manufacturers… not clowns.

        Clowns? Tell us all again how many of the P1 or GTE manufacturers running currently have build and put a car on pole at the Nurburgring?

        2 out of 6?

        That’s what I thought.

  3. N8

    June 26, 2018 at 11:52 am

    I just don’t see how manufacturers of this size could possibly pull that kind of budget together.

    • GTS

      June 29, 2018 at 6:40 am

      There is no scenario where a small manufacturer would need that sort of budget. The budgets mentioned are for major manufacturers, smaller ones would use off the shelf parts, and contract specialists to do much of the work. Obviously it’s their choice if they want to do everything in house.

      Personally I’d work with existing partners like HPD and Magneti Marelli, plus someone like Dallara for the chassis. Basically what the likes of SMP and Rebellion are doing now. Sell a couple of car to privateers and support them rather than running a full factory team team.

  4. TF110

    June 26, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    I think the aco wants to keep cars on for a few years so your initial investment isn’t obsolete the next season. If you say “limited development” over the course of a certain amount of time this could be possible. Then homologate your car and that’s it aside certain tweaks you can make. Like Toyota running last year’s car for the super season. That’ll be 3 years for the current TS050. I think that’s reasonable.

  5. Dave

    June 26, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    Ultimately fans will be disappointed in a compromise class. It has to be hybrid, but it also has to cost no more than $30 million. Hybrid should be optional, and the class BoP’d. The hybrid advantage is limited to extended range and push to pass power from th HY system. I’m not sure how you get from the current P1HY class costing $100’s of millions to a more exciting and P2 besting Hypercar class for under the target budget. Why wouldn’t Toyota, Porsche and Audi already have been operating at such a reduced budget? It sounds like a nice idea, but not sure how the finances work.

  6. David Chaste

    June 26, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    I said this before and i’ll say it again. Any privateer american team that could pull off that budget would be better off racing in indycar, part time in nascar, or xfinity series. You’ll get much better return on investment (better race purse).

    $25-30 million makes for a well funded full time Indycar entry.

    • David needs to get a clue

      June 26, 2018 at 1:55 pm

      Better purse and you mention Indy? Shows you are either clueless or internally a f’ing idiot. There is ZERO purse in Indy unless you can get in the winner’s circle payments and that takes more than one season and pays almost nothing. Every team owner has confirmed they can not run a team with the series payouts, it barely covers the engines for just Indy and renting rides is CRUCIAL, even Penske, CGR and AA have had to take risks with multiple sponsors per season. NASCAR entry takes piles of cash and then more to buy or more commonly rent an entry for exposure that is shrinking by the race and is getting harder to justify to the board. Ask any analysis company and NASCAR now shows the race\win on Sunday, sell on Monday thing was always a myth but especially untrue now.

      If you think this racing is to make a profit you’re absolutely clueless. It’s to get exposure and sorry but for race enthusiasts and European advertising there is still points for winning and when running at LM. For US builders it’s not too much but Ford sells a crapload of cars in Europe too. It’s not like SGR is ever going to sell enough cars to matter where they race, they’re selling the cachet of the car and the history so ROI is less important if they can work that cost into the cost of the finished product.

      • David Chaste

        June 26, 2018 at 7:24 pm

        I really hate to stoop to indecent levels. So i wont. 🙂

        Indycar gives more exposure, therefore more to work with when it comes to advertising. That budget would suffice for a part time entry in nascar at hand picked races, or a full time entry in xfinity series. Either way its more eyeball, more tv coverage, more mainstream recognition.

        • Dave

          June 26, 2018 at 9:02 pm

          I’m sure there is some kind of empirical data out there, but what determines which racing series is more popular or higher value than the next? TV revenues might be one place, but the way people watch sports is changing (some one please clue the FIA in on this one as I needed cable to really watch the 24h LM – WTF?!). How much a sponsor will pay to have their name on the side of a car? How much the actual cars cast? How much participation can influence a buying decision? How many fans fill the stands at the track? The big name race in a series – Monaco, Daytona, Le Mans, Indianapolis, Daytona (again)? I don’t know, I’m genuinely asking. I know F1 is supposed to be top dog then maybe NASCAR, but that’s not how I would rate them……

      • Andy Flinn

        June 26, 2018 at 9:33 pm

        Clue, I know you’re a troll. However, if you think sports car racing – even in Europe – provides more exposure than NASCAR or IndyCar (Indy 500), you are clearly the most dilusional poster here.

    • John

      June 26, 2018 at 10:37 pm

      Scuderia Corsa had an Indy 500 entry this year, and is aiming for a full time entry in the future.

      That said, marketing isn’t strictly about exposure; it has to have the desired exposure, not just sheet numbers. Otherwise, American motorsport outside of NASCAR would have an even more difficult time surviving.

      It’s no accident that HPD’s IndyCar program carries the Honda brand, while the IMSA program carries the Acura brand.

      To say exposure is the be all/end all is a gross oversimplification.

      And IndyCar’s financial structure does not revolve around purses.

  7. Grand Am Fan

    June 26, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    My favorite Daytona Prototype of all time was the Multimatic Ford Focus. The front of the car in the picture above reminds me of that beautiful race car. It just gives me nostalgia for the golden era of the Daytona Prototypes. Hopefully more of the new generation prototypes at Le Mans will incorporate similar design features of the great looking DPs like the Fabcar, Chase, Picchio and Riley.

  8. aserl

    July 3, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    Why bother with hybrid, that’s what E formula is for. Budget reduction key for success. Besides look what happen to Frankenstein.

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