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Glickenhaus to Miss Fuji; Door Left Open for Bahrain Finale

Hypercar team to miss Fuji as Jim Glickenhaus outlines plans for remainder of season…

Photo: MPS Agency

Glickenhaus Racing will miss the FIA World Endurance Championship round at Fuji but remains open to the possibility of rejoining the grid for the Bahrain season finale.

Team owner Jim Glickenhaus confirmed to Sportscar365 ahead of this weekend’s 6 Hours of Monza that the Hypercar squad will not be part of the collective overseas freight voyage to Japan for the fifth round of the campaign in September.

Last month it appeared that the No. 708 Glickenhaus 007 Pipo would likely be absent from the Fuji grid, although Glickenhaus said at the time that plans would be confirmed in the following weeks.

FIA Endurance Commission President Richard Mille stated at Le Mans that the WEC co-organizing body would be “flexible” if Glickenhaus is unable to make any races.

This refers to a strict previous protocol that required each Hypercar team to contest the full season with at least one car. 

The reason for the Fuji absence is largely financial, with Glickenhaus aiming to save money as the company evaluates further investment options.

Glickenhaus reiterated that he is pursuing avenues that could help his organization to secure a more sustained future presence on the WEC grid with its non-hybrid, twin-turbocharged V8 prototype.

“We were never going to Fuji,” said Glickenhaus. “[At Le Mans] I was waiting for the WEC to make a statement, which through Richard Mille they have.

“I think in six or eight weeks we should have a pretty interesting idea of where we are, what we can do and what can happen in the future. I think it’s going positively.”

Glickenhaus said that the pursuit of further investment is “moving ahead on two strong fronts” although no deals have been confirmed at this stage.

“The main reason [for missing Fuji] is economics,” he explained.

“We’re just saving money until we know what our situation really is. It remains the same thing: for our company and selling up to 300 cars a year, a certain amount of racing makes sense. Beyond that, we can’t financially justify it with shareholders.

“And if this investment money came in, it would mainly be to develop hydrogen fuel cell pickup trucks off our Baja racing program. The WEC exposure would make sense then, because we’d have a bigger potential market.

“There are a couple of factors. Japan is still very COVID locked down, from my understanding. Which disenables us to interact with fans and potential customers.

“It doesn’t do us much good, to be honest.”

For Glickenhaus, missing Fuji saves on the logistical aspect of the second overseas leg of the calendar when cars and equipment are transported in shipping containers.

After one freight-based event at Sebring, the next three rounds took place in Europe at circuits that are easily accessible for teams including Glickenhaus, which is partnered with Italian company Podium Advanced Technologies and Germany’s Joest Racing.

Despite forgoing Fuji, Glickenhaus Racing is keeping the door open for an end-of-season WEC appearance at the 8 Hours of Bahrain in November, where Porsche is aiming to debut its LMDh car as part of its pre-homologation testing program.

When asked if Bahrain is also off the radar for this year, Glickenhaus replied that the team could “possibly” make the trip. 

“The Crown Prince of Bahrain is a friend of mine, and I would like to see him and support him,” he said.

Glickenhaus finished third at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with its No. 709 car driven by Richard Westbrook, Franck Mailleux and Ryan Briscoe.

Its drivers who have completed all rounds so far in the No. 708 machine, Olivier Pla and Romain Dumas, currently sit third in the Hypercar drivers’ world championship table.

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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