The Glickenhaus Experience
By Alexander Davidis
James Glickenhaus and his SCG race team achieved incredible success at the 2021 24Hours of Le Mans. With two brand new cars they came in 4th and 5th overall. Now with the two cars back in the US, one of them – car 709 – was tested on the track. I had the lucky chance to witness the event. The video above and the stills below are my personal impressions, shot from the hip with nothing more than my iPhone and my OSMO. Enjoy.
For those who like to read, here the back story:
Racing and especially endurance racing has always been moved forward by visionaries that could think outside the box.
The golden age – the 1950s, 60s and 70s – was full of such characters. Here in the US, Briggs Cunningham and Carroll Shelby were the big icons worth mentioning.
Towards the end of the 1990s and the start of the new millennium, costs at the very top-end of the endurance racing game became so exorbitant that only very big manufacturers could stay competitive. In 1999, when Audi came in at Le Mans on places 1, 2 and 3 it was because they had an “open” budget to do what ever it took (meaning hundreds of millions of dollars). Roger Penske stayed with the game the longest, as one of the last “individual entrepreneurs.”
But now there is a new kid on the block and he is not messing around. James Glickenhaus was born into a world of finance. His father built an investment advisory and brokerage company. Early in his life (in the 80s) Jim realized his creative potential as a movie director in producing action features like The Exterminator. As often with film directors, he had a keen eye for style, design and a huge appreciation for engineering and innovation.
And he had a huge passion for cars, which too, check all the aforementioned boxes. …And for unconventional free-thinkers that populated the golden age of motor racing – the very people that created these magnificent machines. Apart from Cunningham and Shelby, Jim was influenced and inspired by Enzo Ferrari and some of the legendary designers like Pininfarina. In particular, the point where full-out racecars and road cars would meet, fascinated him the most. This is reflected in his personal collection of very rare and significant cars. For example:
1966 Lola T-70
1966 Ferrari P3/4
1967 Ferrari 412P
1967 Ford MKIV J6
1967 Baja Boot
1967 Dino Competizione
Around 2006 Ferrari – aware of Jim’s collection of historically significant cars – approached Glickenhaus as to whether he would be interested in commissioning a one-off car. Jim didn’t miss a beat. On the chassis of the then top-of-the-line Ferrari Enzo, Jim had Pininfarina design a car to pick up the heritage and spirit of the P3/4 and the result was the magnificent P4/5.
But the P3/4 had been a proper race car and the P4/5 wasn’t. Naturally Jim had to build a second one for the track. Due to copyright issues it wouldn’t have been proper to race a brand new custom built car, Ferrari-badged, in competition, without being sanctioned by Ferrari, and so the Ferrari badge was exchanges with the new SCG badge for “Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus”. A new super-high-end automotive company was born. This car was the 2010 SCG P 4/5 Competizione.
Once the SCG Racing Team took the P 4/5 Competizione to the track to meet the competition, the P4/5 did amazingly well and triggered the next genius idea: Not only to build a new car from the ground up, but a car that could start its life as a full-on competition racecar and that later, once retired from racing, could be converted into a cool legal streetcar. That was SCG 003. Back to the roots of the 60s with the latest tech of the 21st century.
Fast forward to 2021 and Glickenhaus’ new reincarnation/reinterpretation of Steve McQueen’s Baja Boot, the Glickenhaus Boot, has already won last year’s Baja 1000 in its class (against its historical adversary, the Ford Bronco).
This year SCG entered two totally new cars – SCG 007s – into the holy grail of racing, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Only lightly tested the two SCG007s basically arrived straight out of the box. For this year at Le Mans, the ultra-expensive LMP1 class (Le Mans Prototype 1) had been done away with and was now replaced by the new LMH class (Le Mans Hyper Car), which, for SCG, was the perfect class to enter.
For me personally, watching Le Mans this year, was better than any other year. Finally I could root for a team that I knew personally and one that was representing my home state of choice, New York. And as the race unfolded (after some initial excitement in the wet at the very beginning) the SCG team just laid down the most solid performance. Without further incidence or drama these guys were in the top ten for the longest time and then in the top five. When the checkered flag finally dropped, they missed the podium only by a hair, coming in 4th and 5th overall. Like we say in New York: Un-f•••ing-believable!
Jim and his team have put the racing world on notice and his company firmly on the map for the ultra-top choices the automotive industry has to offer. He as well as all his incredibly beautiful cars are new icons in the making. I feel lucky that I can witness personally the birth of a future cult brand.
The two Le Mans cars have since returned States-side and on Friday October 29th, I had the great privilege to be invited by SCG’s director of sales, Nat Mundy, to see car 709 (piloted at Le Mans by Ryan Briscoe, Romain Dumas and Richard Westbrook and owned by HK Motorcars, New York) at its first outing on a US-track at the private Monticello Motor Club. I also had a chance to see the Boot in anger (watch the video) – even jump behind the wheel. What an awesome day. All stills and the video are my personal impressions, shot from the hip with nothing more than my iPhone and my OSMO. Enjoy.