A dream named Le Mans: James Glickenhaus
In these pages we will see a succession of characters from the Motor Valley and beyond, who in one way or another have made their passion a life vocation, innovating and creating excellences. James Glickenhaus.
Let’s start with a suggestion: what is your first memory of a racing car and when did you first have the opportunity to drive one?
When I was 12, I went to the New York Auto Show and saw the Ferrari 250 GTO that had just won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I remember it as a true emotion, since I had never seen something more beautiful than that car back then.
After that moment, when I was 15, I turned a 1954 Studebaker into a drag racer and I felt very emotional when I got to drive it for the first time. It felt great!
What does motorsport represent for you today? How did you come up with the idea of being part of the WEC entry list this year?
It surely is an amazing opportunity for our small company to show our customers that we can compete against famous motorsport’s giants. Let’s think at this year’s Le Mans, for example; we race in the same class as Toyota and Alpine, which both have a huge competition history behind. This truly means a lot to us.
As for the second half of the question, I felt that the new Hypercar rules were a once in a lifetime chance for us to design, engineer, build and race in the top class at Le Mans. So we decided to take the risk and we got repaid, as we built a very nice and performing car, also thanks to the expertise of our partners, among which Bercella played a huge part in the project, providing us with the carbon fiber monocoque and the FIA approved Front and Rear Impact Absorbing Structures. These components are among the most crucial ones for a racing car, since they ensure high impact resistance and shock absorption, that turn into an optimal standard when it comes to the safety of the driver. Moreover, composite materials guarantee lightness and stiffness, which are also very important in Motorsport.
How do you think carbon fiber revolutionized the motorsports industry?
There is no doubt that since carbon fiber firstly appeared in the racing world, a huge revolution was about to take place. Starting from that moment, we got the chance to quickly go from CAD projects, straight to finished light weight and very strong parts. This also allowed us to drastically shorten the timing of the project, which is certainly critical for a sector like ours.
Also, taking a leap of time to the present, carbon fiber has proved crucial in protecting the driver multiple times after accidents that could have been fatal only a few years earlier.
How did the collaboration with Bercella began? What was the main challenge concerning the very tight timing for the project to be approved at the beginning?
We got to know Bercella through Podium Engineering, which is one of the main partners of the LMH project. As soon as we got to speak with Bercella, we immediately recognized their expertise in the field and we realized that we both share the same ideals: excellence, competence and racing know-how. In addition, a very effective cost management and a surprisingly short time-to market fully got us committed in this project with them. A decision we certainly don’t regret since it led us to excellent results.
For example, our first participation with two cars was at the 6 Hours of Monza, and the result has been an outstanding one, with a third place in the LMH class and a fourth overall; to run strongly against the top teams in the top class of the WEC in Italy was very emotional.
Bercella is based in the Italian Motor Valley, is this an added value for your SCG 007 and for the challenges ahead?
It surely is, since they daily breath passion for motorsport and engines, and this reflects into their work and expertise. Plus, their headquarter is close to our base of operations for our Le Mans Hypercar Program, and this is an undeniable logistic advantage. To sum up, I can say that we really found a good business relationship and balance, thanks to which we can look together to our next big challenges.