Just a few more races and Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus will be a GT3 manufacturer. This summer, James Glickenhaus’ latest creation, the SCG004C, will be officially known as a GT3 contender. And that milestone is just one of many exciting projects going on at burgeoning New York-based car manufacturer.
As the Nürburgring 24 Hours draws near, the SCG004C looks ready and set for its for its third Eifel classic with some improvements from last year.
NLS3: ENTRY LIST | LIVESTREAM | QUALIFYING REPORT | RACE REPORT | INTERVIEW AUGUSTO FARFUS | GALLERY | INTERVIEW JAMES GLICKENHAUS
“The car is now physically in its final configuration which we will then homologate as a GT3 because we’ve sold a lot of road cars,” James Glickenhaus says.
“We’re looking forward to that and when it’s a GT3 we can sell it to potential customers. But the Ring is great place for us because since we are building road cars and the race cars really are very similar, we learn a lot about durability, suspension, brakes, cooling, things like that and the engine is a similar engine that we run on the road and in the race so it’s a great place for us.
“Because of all the physical changes we did to the aero [NLS3] was a learning experience for the drivers because it’s really quite a different car. By the end of the race they were doing well, we ran an 8:02 at one time which was good. We have work to do but we’re looking forward to the qualifying races to do some more adjusting and testing and then come and try to do well at the ‘24’.
“There’s really no difference physically [between running in SPX and SP9/GT3] but the difference is that until you are SP9 you are allowed to tweak the car, you can make changes, you have to show the organisers what they are and it becomes part of the Balance of Performance but once the car is homologated as a GT3 then that’s sort of the end of the development of it and we’re getting very close to that point.”
Part of the homologation process is the necessity to actually build and sell the car to be eligible as a fully recognised, FIA-approved Group GT3 car.
“We have orders for over 400 road cars,” Glickenhaus explains.
“It’s going to take us a little while to start building them. These are fully crash tested cars, they meet all of the environmental requirements for the EPA, CARB, Euro. Our initial sales are in the United States but then we’ll homologate the car for sale in Europe and other markets.
“The process is not really that big a deal once you have sold the requisite number of road cars, and then you make the application. But the car meets the standards, the race car has passed the crash tests and is built to GT3 or SP9 specifications.”
While different in some significant ways, Glickenhaus does point out that the SCG004’s road and race variants share much of the same technology – a hallmark for the brand.
“One is a race car and one is a road car. The race car is fundamentally the same architecture for the suspension, the engines are quite similar, the gear box is quite different on the road car than on the race car. It’s a platform for us that we try to stay true to and I think that it’s fair to say that our road cars are much closer to our GT3 then perhaps other manufacturers.”
Another recurring theme with Glickenhaus’ cars is the style: whether it’s the commissioned Ferrari P4/5, SCG003, SCG007 LMH or even the SCG Boot, all of them harbour cues from Jim’s favourite historic cars.
“I think [the SCG004] a bit of a throwback car to me. I’m lucky enough to own a lot of Le Man era cars from the sixties and they were basic sports cars, but they also look like what a dream sports car could look like.
“If you look at a Ferrari P4 or a Lola T70 or a Porsche 908 or 917 or the Ford GTs, you could dream that there could be a road going version of those and I think that in the prototype class in LMP1 it got a little bit away from that and I think the Hypercar is perhaps bringing that spirit back and I know with our car we tried to do that with.”
Taking on the behemoths of car manufacturing in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the team from Sleepy Hollow, New York found the Hypercar class to perfectly suit its aspirations – much more than LMP1 could ever had.
“The problem [with Le Mans Prototype cars] is they became so hyper technical that quite frankly a normal person can’t drive it,” Glickenhaus continues.
“If you were a reasonably good driver, you could drive a Le Mans Hypercar, it’s basically a very sophisticated sports car but it’s not impossible.
“I think that if you were a talented amateur and if you made the commitment to learn it then you absolutely could drive it at Le Mans. The speeds you’re going the car was designed – it’s a little bit faster than that – but it’s basically a 3m30s lap at Le Mans so that’s not impossible for a good amateur to do at all. When you start getting down to 3m10s or 3m15s then that’s completely different.
“The factory team would stay as professional drivers but if a talented amateur wanted to buy one then we would certainly support him in any way they wanted and help them with other drivers, with training, with engineering. It’s not that crazy stupid venture: LMP1 was hundreds of millions of Euros but we can sell a base Le Mans Hypercar for about 2.5 million Euros which isn’t impossible and you don’t even have to buy spares unless you need them and we’ll train your crew.
“If someone did have the dream to go to Le Mans in the top class it’s not an impossible dream. It would have been impossible to drive an LMP1 but to drive a Le Mans Hypercar, I think there could be customer teams and that’s the excitement of it.”
With the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus brand gaining momentum, Jim Glickenhaus is eager to add new projects, and not exclusively in the world of motorsports.
“One thing that we’re really trying to do is to have a car that might be more affordable so we are making a do-it-yourself car that is sort of like a safari version of the 004 that could race in Dakar or in the Baja or it could be a buggy that you could drive around or in a rally cross here in Europe and in the United States.
“Part of our company we are actually combining our division that’s developing hydrogen fuel cell pickup trucks because we think that that is a good sustainable way forward. The good thing about a hydrogen fuel cell pickup truck is it doesn’t need 1800lbs of batteries which affects load and range and stuff.
“Hydrogen, if produced from green electricity which you can do with solar, is completely green and it’s water neutral. You basically break water down into hydrogen and oxygen, it makes electricity and then it recombines.
“I think there are a lot of answer to the future. I think big trucks, locomotives, aircraft are much more efficient powered by hydrogen, I don’t see that battery aeroplanes make much sense, the batteries weigh so much. And I don’t see that large trucks make sense with batteries because they’d have to carry so many batteries. Locomotives and big maritime ships could be hydrogen, so we think there will be many solutions that we’d like to be a part of it.
“For us, our sportscar, we’re always going to make them. I think that in the same way people still ride horses, it doesn’t mean they do it for transportation, they do it for fun or it’s like a sailboat. You’re not going to get in a sailboat and sail across the ocean but for sport and going out, sail boats are great.
“We’re looking to make sportscar and then transportation vehicles.”
Back to racing, to the short term, the next big goal is the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring. SCG has shown potential many times and James Glickenhaus promises to have something in the bag this time around as well.
“The car has really come a long way. We had a good lap today [at NLS3], we did an 8m02s at one time.
“The 24 Hours is not a sprint, you’re not going to be doing the equivalent of 8m02s for 24 hours, but if you have a car that can run 8m20s on the Nordschleife and on the Grand Prix in the configuration for the 24 hours and you don’t make any mistakes and you manage your fuel and pitstops correctly and don’t get any penalties, you can win.
“I think our car is as fast as a top 10 car now and any top 10 car can win. There is a lot of luck in it and there is a lot of strategy and things like that, so who knows?”
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