Jim Glickenhaus Sees Dark Future for Privateers in Big-Time Sports Car Racing
Jim Glickenhaus says that the current economy is putting the squeeze on privateers in major sports car racing.
Glickenhaus says he has sold more than 25 of the road-going/track day versions of the 007 and is nearly ready to begin a manufacturing run.
Building a minimum of 25 cars is a prerequisite for entries the WEC’s Hypercar category.
Jim Glickenhaus and his Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus team arrived at the Prologue test at Sebring with the same chassis that almost won the World Endurance Championship’s six-hour race at Monza last year. That was the problem.
But not the only problem.
The racing future remains uncertain for Glickenhaus, who put his WEC team on the podium at Le Mans in 2022.
“There is some massive economic turmoil going on in the world, it’s fair to say,” Glickenhaus said during a break at the Prologue ahead of this weekend's IMSA/WEC doubleheader at Sebring. “I just wish there was a way to keep this going. In my opinion, it’s going to be a series for huge manufacturers and there will be no privateers.”
The news is more upbeat on the manufacturing side. Glickenhaus says he has sold more than 25 of the road-going/track day versions of the 007 and is ready to begin a manufacturing run following success in the mandatory crash test for highway cars. “We have substantial back orders, about two years of production,” he said.
Building a minimum of 25 cars is a prerequisite for the WEC’s Hypercar category.
Moving his racing operation to the IMSA GTP side is not an option for Glickenhaus due to that sanctioning body’s minimum of 2,500 production cars built per year for a manufacturer to compete in the WeatherTech Championship. The team owner has said he has actionable legal grounds against IMSA, but has yet to file a suit.
In the meantime, it's on to Sebring and the WEC season-opening 1,000-mile race this weekend.
“We started our week on the Monza set-up,” said Glickenhaus, “which is really not too good for Sebring.”
The Glickenhaus squad skipped the final two rounds of the WEC last year after claiming two poles and three podiums, including third at Le Mans in the season’s first five rounds. A turbocharger failure cost the team its shot at victory at Monza. After two years of development, other than some efforts at weight reduction, no development has been done by SCG’s Italian-based technical partner Podium Advanced Technologies since the race in Monza.
While the new Hypercar and the LMDh entrants tested extensively during the winter, Glickenhaus worked at finding buyers for the Pipo-powered 007 and sponsors for his team. He will run a second car at Le Mans backed by HP Motorcars. But he says more sponsorship or race car sales are necessary for future participation.
“When this thing started, it was going to be a cost-effective answer to LMP1. Now we’re facing guys who are out-spending us 10 to one. It’s becoming untenable. We have, I believe, the lowest cost car, running costs. But we still haven’t been able to sell customer cars. We’re looking for sponsors. If we don’t find car buyers or sponsors, we’re going to find other mountains to climb.”
Once on the track at Sebring, the Glickenhaus porpoised badly enough that the front cowling cracked after hitting the concrete surface in the first session. The team’s twin turbo Pipo has the power it needs under the new BOP, according to driver Romain Dumas. “We just need to stop going up and down.”
On the first day of the Prologue, the Glickenhaus was four seconds off the pace of the leading Toyota GR010 Hybrids that it competed effectively against last year with the help of BOP. On the second day, the Glickenhaus closed the gap to 2.5 seconds, but still trailed the other six Hypercar and LMDh teams.