Say what you will about James Glickenhaus’ braggadocious tendencies, but the man is good for some headlines. He was confident enough to launch his own car company. He was confident enough to compete at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring. And he’s confident enough to call his own shot at the production car lap record at the Nürburgring. Yes, the same man who recently unveiled the intense SCG 003S at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show believes that his newest creation can lap the Green Hell in just 6:30, which would be 27 seconds faster than the current record-holder, the Porsche 918 Spyder.
Glickenhaus is apparently so confident in his road-going SCG 003S that he told Car and Driver in Geneva his intention to create a competition at the iconic German racing circuit to determine, once and for all, which production car is the fastest around the track. Not stopping at simply proposing the competition, the man behind the P4/5 also wants the competition to be held immediately after the qualifying stage of the 24 Hours of Nürburgring with the added caveats that automakers who participate in it are required drive the cars from Cologne to the Nürburgring using only a single set of tires and then using the same set of tires during the competition.
He does admit that it would be too late to hold the competition this year since the 24 Hours of Nürburgring is scheduled to begin on May 25. But if other automakers get on board and Nürburgring authorities give the green light, Glickenhaus believes that the competition could have its inaugural run in 2018.
The proposal is interesting, but don’t expect it to happen anytime soon, even if Glickenhaus champions it to the high heavens. Between getting automakers to agree on participating and having the blessing of track officials, there are a lot of holes that Glickenhaus needs to jump through before it can even get people to take his proposal seriously. Then again, he might just be doing all of this because he has a car he thinks can win the whole thing.
Whatever the case may be, this is as good an example of how the mind of James Glickenhaus works. He may not say the right things all the time, but when he does say something, people tend to listen, no matter how strange his statements may be.
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Novel idea, but it’s not getting off the ground
If James Glickenhaus’ proposal sounds too good to be true, hear it from the man himself, who said that as part of the regulations of his proposed competition, the tires “have to be real road tires, not those special tires that get dropped off in a safe. They have to be tires you can buy from [a place like] Tire Rack. Then everybody drives and sets a time, and whoever is fastest is the winner. That’s it.”
See, I think I know where Glickenhaus is coming from here. He’s championing to have this competition because he thinks he has a car that can win it. It’s a bit cheeky but I understand where he’s coming from, especially if he is confident enough to know that his SCG 003S can wipe out the competition. The trick here is to get everybody else on board, which is, short of saying, next to impossible.
See, the production lap record at the Nürburgring exists partly because the track is widely used as a test site for any performance car that’s about to be launched. It’s not really a competition in the sense that the record-holder takes home a championship belt with it for being the fastest around the track. These automakers compete for bragging rights with a car they think can beat the existing record. If they do beat it, they’ll proudly tell everybody about it while also knowing full well that the record is probably not going to last that long. The thrill is to own it at some point until somebody else beats it.
A straight-up competition, on the other hand, has one winner and a heck of a lot of losers. You can be sure then that automakers aren’t going to risk being embarrassed by a rival, especially if said rival has a car that itself is a rival of the other automaker’s car. That’s bad publicity for the losing ride and these companies know how damaging that can be to the reputation of the car.
It’s a good idea on the surface, but once you peel back at the whole complicated nature of the competition, don’t bet on it coming to fruition anytime soon, even with Glickenhaus’ best efforts to see that it does.