The upcoming WEC debutants have enlisted Joest Racing and Sauber to supply their Le Mans Hypercar efforts – here is why it is a defining move.
Glickenhaus are set to debut in the new Le Mans Hypercar category that looks to globally represent the peak of endurance prototypes.
Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, to give their full manufacturer name, see themselves as a niche manufacturer who are producing road cars alongside their race-going variants.
But now they are looking at a new journey. The Le Mans Hypercar, WEC and Le Mans.
How LMH is set to succeed the demised LMP1 category?
The last road-going manufacturer to enter the WEC was Nissan, who experienced an underwhelming and uncompetitive Le Mans experience over five years ago that meant the last of the Japanese outfit in any form of top-class endurance prototype.
A year before, in 2014, a name synonymous with motorsport made the decision to pursue the WEC rather than Formula 1 in 2014. Porsche.
A comeback to top-level endurance prototypes added to their enriching history at Le Mans with 19 overall wins in some iconic wheel-to-wheel racing and also suited their goals on the 919 Hybrid.
However, the LMP1s that were capable of such outright WEC victories would spend upwards of $100-250 million annually on their programmes.
It was an expensive playground that only wealthy, major manufacturers with dedicated motorsport staff and backing could even dream of taking part in without such risk of financial consumption.
Arguably the rulebook allows manufacturers to stretch their capabilities to develop, creat and use create their own rule-abiding powertrains tailored to the car as LMH enables (unlike LMDh – specification hybrid powertrain).
Soon enough, the domino that was the VW diesel scandal indirectly caused disruption to the motorsport world that saw the ‘temporary’ demise of Audi and Porsche, leaving just Toyota to compete with their two Hybrid LMP1 cars from 2018.
Thus Le Mans Hypercars marked a new era and the ideological solution to this critical dilemma on top-level endurance prototypes.
Glickenhaus announced new and upcoming journey on the new Le Mans Hypercar programme over a year ago.
The ACO started working closely with SCG, Toyota GAZOO Racing, ByKolles and Aston Martin (before the latter pulled out of the programme).
Glickenhaus were originally looking at an Alfa Romeo V6 to power their 007 LMH but the financial fuss caused by AM’s request to turn down the power output eventually drove Glickenhaus to take a Pipo Moteurs V8 twin-turbo powertrain.
Nevertheless, the 1960s-inspired engine block appearance (plus the two turbochargers) of the Pipo Moteurs non-hybrid powertrain combines beauty, nostalgia, and hopefully competitive performance.
Glickenhaus had years of experience as a bespoke yet motorsport-driven manufacturer, with notable campaigns at the Baja 1000 and the Nurburgring 24 Hours.
The pursuit of the latter at a heavily rain-soaked ‘Green Hell’ saw them win in the SPX class with their new SCG 004C GT3 variant, and its road-going equivalent known as the 004S made an appearance too.
More importantly, they were able to compete against the more experienced and established manufacturers like Mercedes and BMW in what is considered amongst the world’s most challenging endurance circuit races.
A more level competition at the N24 was partly determined by the track layout and conditions but mostly on par with the performance of the GT3s as the leading type of car – this is what the ACO are looking to grasp with Hypercars at Le Mans.
Established top-level yet competitive racing.
Why having this support is so important
Joest Racing are set to establish a “technical partnership” with Italian firm Podium Advanced Technologies within the means of Glickenhaus Racing’s FIA WEC programme.
They secured 15-time Le Mans winner Joest Racing to provide resources and personnel to the two-car entry that SCG are running in the 2021 WEC.
Sauber oversee aerodynamic work on the SCG 007, having conducted a proportion of scale wind tunnel testing and analysis last year to determine the aerodynamic profile of the twin-turbo, V8-powered race car.
Italian firm Podium Advanced Technologies were first on to develop the chassis of the SCG 007 and the arrival of two major suppliers adds to the hype.
As WEC/Le Mans rookies, they are elevated as inexperienced but now well-supported entries of the WEC who can utilise the experience of Joest and challenge the Toyotas.
Joest themselves won Le Mans four times with Porsche, then recorded another 11 overall victories to successfully exceed in Audi’s notable LMP1 endeavours (which departed in 2016).
Their most recent efforts were on Mazda’s DPi cars in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship that stretched over two years and ended last March.
Jan Lange, Head of Projects at Joest Racing said: “Announcing this technical partnership with Podium Advanced Engineering within the SCG FIA WEC Racing programme is a great start into 2021 for Joest Racing.
“Every team member is highly motivated to make this endeavour a success.
“This cooperation has been ongoing for a little while now and I must say that working with the highly competent and motivated team at Podium Advanced Engineering in Italy has been a pleasure.
“We are particularly happy about returning to the 24h Du Mans, which is somewhat ‘home grounds’ to Joest Racing and where we’ve been able to take overall victories multiple times.
“Considering that Glickenhaus will field two impressive Le Mans Hypercars Considering that Glickenhaus will field two impressive Le Mans Hypercars, I feel that it isn’t out of the realm of possibilities that the list of winners of the 24h Du Mans following the 2021 edition may feature the name Glickenhaus.”
Jim Glickenhaus, Managing Director of Glickenhaus added: “We, as Glickenhaus, decided to enter in FIA WEC and Le Mans 24h to prove that a niche manufacturer can deliver a product to the highest technology level and having Joest Racing support shows how seriously we took this challenge.”
”Having the chance to work with one of the most winning teams in the endurance race history strengthens our line-up,” Luca Ciancett, WEC Team Principal at SCG commented.
“The recent cooperation is already giving us great results and we are looking forward to the first shakedown of the 007 LMH.”
The German company will be contracted to partner but not represent an entry under their name.
The latest developments so far and what to expect in the coming months
Glickenhaus have been busy over the past two months as they began to build one of 007 LMHs.
As presented on their social media, developments on the build have looked positive but due to the impact on travel circumstances from COVID – a current issue across motorsport – the estimated six week period in advance of the 1000 Miles of Sebring would simply not allow them to transport all the equipment and cars in line with the health restrictions in place.
So, they may not be able to go to the Prologue as intended, or the opening round, but they are looking at going to the 6 Hours of Spa in April – before the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
This assistance of resources will find useful later in the year when the N24 will clash with the test day at Le Mans, both of which Glickenhaus are looking to enter.
They will continue to pursue further testing later in the month, followed by deciding the driver lineups.
One of the last-minute drivers in last year’s N24 commitments was Le Mans winner and endurance regular Richard Westbrook, who performed highly but will take a background role in the LMH development project.
Concluding thoughts on Glickenhaus
To hear that Joest Racing in particular are joining their party has fueled the hype on Glickenhaus even further.
A right-minded, confident and logical approach is exactly what is required to enter a new proving ground of top-level endurance prototypes.
Due to the balance of performance in place, we can realistically look forward to them battling against Toyota, Alpine, Peugeot in 2022, and then Audi and Porsche, although the latter LMDh cars differ in technical specification to the LMHs.
Fanatics of Le Mans and the WEC are looking for a successful restart of the spark that blew out years ago, whereby a clumsy success handicap was in place to salvage what would be the dying year of LMP1.
Glickenhaus will continue to be open and excited about their new LMH prospects, and rightly so.
The pioneering category of endurance racing might really be back in business for the upcoming decade or so, whether Aston Martin are there or not.
Glickenhaus can prove the might of a smaller manufacturer in the ultimate spotlight of endurance racing and Le Mans.