James Glickenhaus has a dream: To win the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring. From the storied Ferrari P4/5 Competizione to the SCG003c, the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus has been within reach of glory before, but will 2019 finally be the year it happens?
As with many teams, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus approached the VLN season-opener last week as a test session under competition conditions, trying out the new tyres, dampers and getting back up to speed with the astonishing SCG003c.
Behind the wheel of the car are regulars Thomas Mutsch and Franck Mailleux, while Felipe Fernandez-Laser is back with the team after a successful season with Frikadelli Racing in 2018.
“We are very happy with how the car performed today,” James Glickenhaus says.
“This is a big change for us: We are now a Michelin team and it makes a very big difference to the car. We really love the tyres and we are learning them. It required completely different dampers. We got a new set of experimental dampers from KW and we like them very much as well.
“It’s a real learning experience for us and we feel very confident. For us, it’s really a great test going on to the Qualifying Race and the 24 Hours.”
In 2017, Jeff Westphal raced the SCG003c to pole position for the Nürburgring 24 Hours and led the way early on, while last year the single-car team was amongst the frontrunners until the early hours of Sunday morning when the rain started to fall.
Bolstered by these performances, Glickenhaus believes they’re in with a shot.
“I think we actually could win the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring!
“Last year we were running third overall when the rain came and unfortunately our tyres were just not up to the Michelins, and had they been we would’ve done pretty well, I think.
“Look, we’re a one-car team, it’s very difficult, but we’re gonna give it a good shot.”
In 2015 Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus began producing the SCG003c for both road and track-use. Competing with the car on the daunting Nordschleife is not just for the sake of racing anymore, but development as well.
“We’ve now become a road car company and we’re selling road cars.
“The Nürburgring is a wonderful proving ground for us, that’s why we come here and race. Every lap, every 24 Hours race is thousands of kilometres of road-use that you get very quickly, and you learn what works and what doesn’t, what makes a car comfortable, what makes it drivable.
“It’s a very interesting challenge to build a car for both the street and race track, but I think at the Nürburgring, frankly it’s much more like the road than some other race courses. It is a road and if a car can handle the Nürburgring well, it is great on the road.”
Carrying a price tag of 2 million dollars, the SCG003c was always going to be a tough sell. Despite, six cars have been sold so far, while the production and design of other cars are starting to ramp up as well.
“Yes, well, this car is a very complicated car to make,” James Glickenhaus continues.
“We are now up to six that we’ve made and sold. We probably have another five orders for this year – I don’t know how many of those we’ll be able to fill.
“But we’re making lower-cost cars too: We’re making a Baja vehicle which is a real road-legal Baja-capable vehicle based on Steve McQueen’s Baja Boot that I bought a number of years ago.
“And then our new car, the SCG004, we’re going to homologate it as a GT3, a GT4, and it’ll be a road-legal car and will be much less expensive than the SCG003. Everything we’ve learned will go into that.”
Anyone who’s ever watched James Glickenhaus closely at the Nürburgring paddock will have seen it: The love for motorsports and the history of it – it’s in his heart and soul, it’s what drives him and keeps him coming back to the Eifel race course.
“It’s the passion of it. I’ve loved cars all my life, racing, collecting. My dream is to be able to design, build, engineer, with a great team of people and then come here and race.
“We hope to go to Le Mans with the hyper car that we’re doing, and to sell enough road cars to not lose too much money.
“My son works with me and my wife is tolerant of it, so that’s what you get!
“I’m thankful to all the people who say hello when we come here and enjoy and support what we’re doing, it means a lot to us. We really love it here.”