Most people who decide to start their own car company – from Enzo Ferrari downwards – have historically been wired in a slightly different way to normal people. Jim Glickenhaus, who heads up SCG Cars, is no exception.
His background is actually as a film director and his family made a huge success out of Wall Street finance. But somehow, that wasn’t quite enough for him. Instead, he always had a vision of creating his own cars – and one day racing them at Le Mans.
That day is now. Jim’s route into car production was through car collecting, and what he has tucked away in his garage in New York is nothing short of astonishing. We’re talking about icons such as the Ferrari P330 – if there’s been a more beautiful car ever made, I’m yet to see it – and a Ford GT40 that actually raced at Le Mans. And there are many more.
What’s even crazier though, is that all of them carry number plates and are occasionally let loose to play with the New York traffic: a challenge that must make the Mulsanne Straight seem comparatively mild in comparison.
Jim says it’s fun to acquaint these racing thoroughbreds with his home city. If anything gets damaged, it can just be fixed. You get the measure of the man now. The fact that the Ford versus Ferrari, or Le Mans 66 movie (it received different titles for different markets) came out reasonably recently is a weird coincidence, as it’s a story that Jim has always been fascinated by.
In fact, he even lent his Ferrari and Ford GT40 to The Grand Tour a few years ago to re-enact it. And that’s one of the legends that has inspired him to turn up on the Le Mans grid this year with a stunning machine built to the new hypercar regulations, with which he hopes to conquer Le Mans against the might of established giants such as Toyota. If he succeeds, he would be the first American constructor to do so since Ford in the 1960s.
That’s the decade that has firmly inspired the gorgeous SCG007 Hypercar, which will line up on the grid at Le Mans in less than four months. It may be packed with the latest hybrid technology, using input from some top names in motorsport such as the Sauber Formula 1 team and Joest Racing, but the lines, swoops and curves are distinctly from the golden age of endurance racing. There’s a hint of the Ferrari P330 about it, a sprinkle of some Porsche 917; even a bit of Ford GT40. The colour is rosso corsa – for now at least – and it’s ironic that the newest addition to the grid seems to be the one with the most heritage. It’s simply stunning: the prettiest racing car that has been seen since…the Ferrari P330 maybe.
A while ago, Sebastian Vettel was rumoured to be among the Le Mans driver line-up, but instead Glickenhaus has gone for some established hands at the 24 Hours: including two-time winner Romain Dumas as well as Richard Westbrook, Pipo Derani, Olivier Pla, Gustavo Menezes, Franck Mailleux, and Ryan Briscoe. Yes, we realise that makes seven drivers for two cars, but one of them will draw the short straw of being reserve.
This car is so classically inspired, that it would come as no surprise whatsoever to see Steve McQueen joining the line-up as well. And just like the fictional Michael Delaney – who McQueen played in the epic 1971 Le Mans movie, making the square TAG-Heuer Monaco famous – Glickenhaus even has its own Le Mans watch now to complete the 1960s vibe. It’s a ‘Road to Le Mans’ inspired piece from British brand Forzo, developed in collaboration with Glickenhaus throughout their epic journey to the most famous race in the world.
Just like everything else with the Glickenhaus project, it hasn’t been done by halves. To find out more about this unique Le Mans programme, visit: www.glickenhausracing.com and to see the bespoke watches go to www.forzowatches.com. It’s probably the best David versus Goliath story that you’ll read in motorsport all year.
Anthony Peacock works as a journalist and is the owner of an international communications agency, all of which has helped take him to more than 80 countries across the world.
Images courtesy of Glickenhaus Racing