James Glickenhaus Weighs in on His $2.6M Road-Ready Racer
What in the world is an SCG-003S?
The awe-inspiring automotive extremity seen here is collectively known as the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus-003 Stradale, or SCG-003S for short; and simply put it is a modern feat of automotive ingenuity. Creator, designer, and all around automotive tour de force Jim Glickenhaus calls his latest brainchild “lighter, smaller, simpler, and very beautiful,” and as we previously reported, this $2.6 million hypercar is ultimately what happens when a “[Le Mans Prototype] meets [a] GT car.”
With a unique sub-frame that quickly detaches from the rear of the car so that it can easily be converted to a full-blown racecar, a chassis and body made primarily from carbon fiber, a responsive Hewland paddle-shift gearbox, and some extremely wide wheels, the SCG-003 was one of the biggest stars at the recent 2015 Geneva International Motor Show.
What’s even more exciting is that not only has this car set the bar for what is possible in a hypercar, but it has also paved the way for auto manufacturers the world over to use this model as a touchstone for easier manufacturing and repair. I recently sat down for an exclusive interview with the company’s founder, James Glickenhaus, and got the chance to do a special feature on his life, team, as well as his personal car collection. I also was able to pick his brain a bit regarding the development of the highly coveted SCG-003 hypercar, what his plans are for the car, and what that could mean for the automotive world as a whole.
Beneath the beauty lurks a beast
Undoubtedly there are some critics out there who are complaining that they don’t like the fact that the SCG-003 doesn’t come equipped with a massive Ferrari engine, and based on James’s history with the Italian company, having a Ferrari powerhouse would make total sense. But the car doesn’t come equipped with a roaring Maranello-sourced powerplant. One can surely be equipped down the line if the money is right, but for the time being, the Ferrari fan-boys out there need to take a big step back, sit down, and understand that James and his automotive consultant Paolo Garella aren’t new to the car game, so rest assured in knowing that there is good reason for utilizing a turbo-powered V6 Honda engine instead of a larger motor.
“The HPD TTV6 3.5L is a race proven unit that we were able to develop with our partners Autotecnica Motori and Bosch Motor Sports [by turning it] into a very compact high torque endurance race engine,” James explains, “[Because] a very compact engine allows a very aerodynamic car.”
When asked if there were any other contenders in the engine department during the development process, James says that they looked into the 3.5 liter Ford EcoBoost unit, but ultimately they decided against it because, “they [Ford] saved that one for their new Ford GT,” which is rumored to also produce more than 600 horsepower.
Many people are also curious about the company’s “road-ready” model of the SCG-003, and the various engines that might be available for it down the line. Jim informs me that this part of the build is still very much a work in progress. He goes into further detail by explaining, “As our car is modular, we can fit any engine a customer wants including a [twin-turbo W12] (if they want to pay for that). Personally, I think our TTV6 road engine which will make about 650 HP and produce about 750 NM of torque in an 1100 kilogram [2,425 pound] road car, [which] will be fantastic, especially as its road tires will be able to put that down without a lot of [traction control].”
SCG-003 ownership info and options
So what about the buyer who doesn’t just want to be constricted to street tires and the speed limitations of public roadways? What if he wants to see what his $2.6 million hypercar can really do? How long would it take a fully trained team of mechanics to exchange engines on the SCG-003S, and are there any developments on the horizon to streamline this process so it can be done quicker?
“A road to full GT3 race conversion which would include an engine swap would take about 8 hours,” Jim informs me. “A road to Track Day conversion would [only] take a few hours and could use the same road engine.” With a plethora of upgrade options becoming available, and the car technically still in its infancy, there is little doubt that these times will soon be trimmed down considerably, especially once race season is fully underway.
Another consideration for potential international buyers is that this car is designed to meet road standards in many parts of the world, thus making it an attractive option for anyone wanting something that is both “track ready” and “roadway friendly” when driving to and from the local race course.
This led to another topic of conversation, in which James confirmed with us that previous speculations about the taillights on the SCG-003 costing a whopping $224,000 a set were correct, due primarily to the cost incurred when “designing, engineering, producing and homologating unique road legal taillights that meet world wide Motor Vehicle standards.”
Does the SCG-003 have the power to influence the auto industry?
At this point, it only seems appropriate for us to focus on the future of the automotive world, and keep James’s most recent project at the forefront of the discussion. I am quite curious to see if James thinks the advancements he has instilled in his vehicles will start trickling into more pedestrian, mass-market cars; especially with the flexible chassis like the SCG-003, with its interchangeable powerplant and street-legal capabilities setting new standards in racing.
James tells me that he is not sure if major manufacturers will follow his lead or not, especially since it is still so early in the game, and yet, “it really makes sense to me, as it allows the car to be built up, serviced, and repaired easily.” He goes on to tell me about how this prototype he created can easily be applied to other forms of racing since his design “allows the use of different engines by simply exchanging the modular rear sub-frame.”
So when I asked James if another automotive firm using his design was cause for concern, he shrugged off the notion and replied, “I hope others adapt [the modular rear sub-frame] and make it easier to work on and repair road and race cars.”
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