For Season 9 of the FIA World Endurance Championship, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus are to debut in the series’ most coveted and upcoming category – the Le Mans Hypercar.
Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus is an American supercar and automobile manufacturer which specialise in creating bespoke vehicles inspired by their racing counterparts.
They are involved in a variety of motorsport expeditions whether it’s the challenges of the Baja 1000 in their ‘Boot’ or taking on one of the most demanding endurance races in the world; that being the 24 Hours of Nurburgring.
Having racked up a wealth of experience in the endurance discipline, they are now going to compete in the WEC, including an attempt to take on the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The new Le Mans Hypercar regulations arrives at a time when the outgoing LMP1 category (WEC’s top class) is struggling to provide the excitement that is expected with a top category, especially since the departure of Audi and Porsche, and the new regulations are the primary reason why Glickenhaus has decided to enter the series.
“For a long time we’ve advocated that the top class at Le Mans resemble Dream Sports Cars/Hypercars. As soon as that came to pass we began,” commented James Glickenhaus, the owner and managing member of SCG.
He stated some of his favourite memories of the historic event, including Luigi Chinetti’s efforts in the Ferrari 250LM for the North American Racing Team (NART), securing Ferrari’s ninth LM victory and their last time on the top spot of the podium, in 1965.
Others include the Ford v Ferrari rivalries of “66 and “67, the battles between Porsche in their iconic 917 cars against Ferrari’s 512s; more recent memories include the battles between Audi and Porsche.
Initial details of the regulations were released in December of 2018, entailing the future prospect and potential that would see the top category of endurance racing revitalised completely since the Hybrid regulations of 2012 (inaugural season of the WEC).
The ACO and FIA published new regulations in December 2018 that opened the door to a new top class in endurance – Hypercars. These regulations will come into force in September 2020.#WEC #LEMANS24 pic.twitter.com/HRR2Ig24K1
— WEC (@FIAWEC) June 14, 2019
Whilst SCG will be rookies at the 24 Hours of Le Mans next year, they are certainly no beginners when it comes to participating in iconic endurance races.
During 2015 to 2017, when the SCG 003C was introduced, the team competed in the GT3 category at the Nurburgring 24H, and demonstrated their capabilities against the German giants of Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche.
In 2017 Nurburgring 24H they caught everyone by surprise by taking pole-position in the showdown between the top-30 cars, with American driver, Jeff Westphal setting a best time of 8m15.427s on his second flying lap in the #704 SCG 003C.
The team also entered a SCG 003C at the 2016 International GT Open at Monza, in the hands of Lorenzo Bontempelli and Beniamino Caccia, in addition to entries in a number of other events including the 24H Series’ 12H Mugello (2016) and VLN Nurburgring races.
Reflecting on SCG’s several Nurburgring 24H appearances, Glickenhaus said: “The 24 Hours of Nurburgring is one of the greatest endurance races in the world.
“It’s like Woodstock, Burning Man and Endurance racing from the sixties rolled into one.
“It’s a gruelling race. 24 hours on ‘The Ring’ is like ‘100,000 miles on the Road.’ That’s why we love it.
“Everything we learn goes into our road cars. It’s our proving ground. It’s been a lifelong dream to have our cars race at Le Mans. Next June, that will come true.”
One of the headlines earlier this year was the news that Aston Martin had decided to drop out of the WEC programme.
They had aimed to join ByKolles, Peugeot, SCG, and Toyota to begin the new endurance racing era but pulled out due to “financial conditions”, but shortly after, they announced they would be entering Formula 1, taking over the branding of the Racing Point team.
SCG made their stance clear on Aston Martin’s dropout in a response to a Sportscar365 article, and confirmed that the British manufacturer’s withdrawal cost Glickenhaus a lot of money.
“The rule changes (which are) mostly caused by Aston Martin, who then dropped out.
“Personally, I believe they [Aston Martin] are under extreme financial duress. Their dithering cost both Toyota and us a lot of money and killed the possibility of us using an Alfa-based engine.”
Aston Martins’ stance represented how the WEC and Automobile Club De L’Ouest (ACO) tailored the regulations towards the needs of the entrants, in the lack of deliberate exclusion by ACO; this is beneficial when a more bespoke automobile manufacturer like SCG is up against a more wealthier division like Toyota GAZOO Racing.
A mutual agreement across the manufacturers would ensure that Le Mans Hypercars could face a positive start next year.
Season 9 of the FIA World Endurance Championship will begin in March 2021, following the recent calendar adjustments that COVID-19 presented, and Glickenhaus stated that the additional six months could open up the possibility of additional teams joining the LMH category.
“We are glad that we can now join the start of the 2021 (WEC) season.
“I think it [LMH] is a great platform for real manufacturers who make road-legal cars. I expect more to join and hope several will consider our LMH platform as a starting point.”
“We expect that our Glickenhaus Le Mans Hypercars will stand and deliver and have a chance for one [overall achievement].”
When asked about the recent release of the IMSA Le Mans Daytona Hypercar (LMDh) regulations, Glickenhaus stated that SCG “have no interest in LMDh.”
“Until IMSA stops discriminating against ‘non-mainstream manufacturers,’ we have no interest in IMSA.
“In IMSA’s press release, they clearly state that only mainstream manufacturers will be allowed to race LMH cars at IMSA events.”
This stance eliminates the possibility of SCG taking on the Daytona 24H or Sebring 12H in a Le Mans Daytona Hypercar, until the LMDh regulations accommodate for “non-mainstream manufacturers.”
Nevertheless, it proves to be an exciting new era for the WEC as ByKolles, Peugeot, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus and Toyota GAZOO Racing each prepare to fight closely for victories in the next decade.
SCG’s commitment and enthusiasm to their upcoming expedition will excite WEC spectators who have been looking forward to the era of the Le Mans Hypercar, where teams will compete for outright victories.