Jim Glickenhaus Has Grand Plan to Add Hypercars to WEC Field in 2023

·6 min read
Photo credit: NurPhoto - Getty Images
Photo credit: NurPhoto - Getty Images
  • Despite finishing on the podium at Le Mans, Jim Glickenhaus and the Glickenhaus 007C is ineligible for next year's Rolex 24 at Daytona due to IMSA’s rule requiring participating manufacturers to produce 2,500 road cars annually.

  • Glickenhaus' answer is gear up for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and beat the IMSA-spec Cadillac and Porsche hybrids that are scheduled to compete.

  • In the meantime, Glickenhaus is in negotiations to sell Glickenhaus race cars to privateer customers.

Jim Glickenhaus is an American constructor waging an epic battle to get his small volume marque to the top step of the podium at major endurance events. After finishing on the podium at Le Mans, his Hypercar came close to winning at the World Endurance Championship event at Monza in July.

But without a single cylinder firing on the Glickenhaus 007C, he has already lost next year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona due to IMSA’s rule requiring participating manufacturers to produce 2,500 road cars annually.

Photo credit: NurPhoto - Getty Images
Photo credit: NurPhoto - Getty Images

Glickenhaus’ answer to being shut out at Daytona? See you at Le Mans, where the IMSA-spec Cadillac and Porsche hybrids are scheduled to compete. “We think we can be very competitive against the IMSA cars,” said Glickenhaus, who this summer became the first American car builder to stand on the overall podium at Le Mans since Ford’s heyday in the 1960s.

Characterizing the electric unit of the new generation of IMSA’s hybrid cars as an add-on, Glickenhaus likes his chances against the class designated GTP. “Frankly, we don’t see the value of a 40-horsepower hybrid unit,” he said. “It’s basically turning gasoline into power and is used as a range extender. But it’s hanging off the rear of the car, which is not the best place to do it. Forty horsepower seems absurd. We can get 40 horsepower with a software tweak in two seconds.”

The builder of street legal “drive and race” vehicles with a factory in Danbury, Conn., Glickenhaus has already given Toyota’s bespoke Hypercar, as the class is known in the WEC, a run for its money. Under the WEC’s performance balancing, an 007C powered by a 3.5-liter twin turbo V8 started on the pole at Spa and Monza. The top step of the podium almost came to pass in Italy’s six-hour except for a proverbial nail that was lost—a blown turbo.

The heat was an ally at Monza for Glickenhaus, whose two-car team is eligible under the WEC rules for Hypercars because the 007C’s normally aspirated drive train is intended for use in the company’s street legal “drive and race” version of the 007.

“We do see the advantages to the systems that Ferrari and Peugeot are developing which are all-wheel drive systems,” he said. “They have some problems of their own. The Toyota hybrid did not run flawlessly. In the heat, it was not as efficient as it was in cooler temperatures. So, we think we can do well. It would be an exciting thing.”

The Glickenhaus 007C is an efficient and elegant design. And the path back to Le Mans may be open. But as is typical with small volume constructors, the money picture has become complicated. Short term, Glickenhaus will exercise an option to miss the upcoming WEC round at Fuji before returning for the season finale in Bahrain while trying to sort plans for 2023.

One option to return to the WEC next year is selling additional cars to privateer customers.

“We are before several teams that are seriously considering buying one of our Hypercars,” said Glickenhaus. “We are offering our Hypercar for a lower price than anyone else.” That price is $2.5 million, plus another half a million for spares. “You can race alongside of us on a totally equal basis and have an equal chance to win Le Mans,” he said. “We don’t care if it’s the car that you own or the car we own. We just care if it’s a Glickenhaus.”

A self-confessed dreamer and dream builder, Glickenhaus says he rides with Americans who successfully wrangled their cars onto the world racing stage like Carroll Shelby and Jim Hall, or America’s Ferrari connection Luigi Chinetti. An admirer of Enzo Ferrari, as a young man Glickenhaus ran errands at Chinetti’s Ferrari import facility in New York.

As a businessman, Glickenhaus continues to successfully run to daylight following a Hollywood film career. But unlike Ferrari, who sold road cars to go racing, Glickenhaus races to generate sales and investment for his road car projects. That’s why he views the expense of a full WEC season as viable.

Photo credit: DAMIEN MEYER - Getty Images
Photo credit: DAMIEN MEYER - Getty Images

In addition to selling customer 007Cs to privateers, Glickenhaus is currently trying to raise investment money for manufacturing. In Danbury, the SCG manufacturing arm is expected to produce up to 300 of the SCG 004 series sports prototypes that can be driven to circuits and then raced. Included in that projected total production figure is a street legal SUV designed for off-road racing called the SCG Boot, after a vehicle raced by Steve McQueen.

Although his vehicles have conventional drive trains, Glickenhaus also has his eye on the movement toward emission-free vehicles. His current fund-raising effort includes money to manufacture hydrogen fuel cells for truck fleets called the Glickenhaus Zero. The key element is rapid refueling for trucks and a range of 300 miles.

“We are great believers in hydrogen being a zero emissions alternate to electric in large vehicles,” said Glickenhaus. “Unlike an electric pickup, we don’t have to lug around 1,800 pounds of batteries. We have a simple, very quick refueling system for our hydrogen pickup trucks. We’re talking to fleets, which would be perfect customers.”

Glickenhaus thinks at least one of his fund-raising options will come to fruition. “That would be an economically viable way for us to continue to race in the WEC. The WEC does bring us a lot of publicity.”

Even if the opportunity to return to the WEC doesn’t work out, Glickenhaus is likely to receive and accept an invitation from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest to return to Le Mans. Having been shut out at Daytona, it’s a chance to beat a new era of hybrids from Toyota, Ferrari and Peugeot as well as the GTP-spec entries of Cadillac and Porsche with a proven prototype while once again running to daylight.

Who knows? At the 24-hour event where only five hours of the early summer event are conducted at night, it might be one of those sweltering hot summer days.