Looks like it’s in fast-forward. Isn’t
By now, you’re likely familiar with James Glickenhaus, from his beautiful Ferrari-derived P4/5 to his ambition to make ‘the first real race car for the road’.
In fact, quite a lot of his ambition – and results, for that matter – are admirable. But we don’t have time to get into all of that when we’re staring at video evidence of what appears to be the world’s first hyperspace button. Or, to translate from hyperbole to English, a 6:33.20 lap of the Nurburgring Nordschleife in a car with his last name on the back.
Yep, it’s your (seemingly daily) update on just how quickly one, if so inclined, can circumnavigate 12.9 miles’ (20.8km) worth of racetrack in western Germany. In this case, It’s a few scant seconds more than six and a half minutes. And that’s pretty brisk.
There are a series of rather large nota benes to discuss in relation to this hot lap, and the most immediate is that the SCG was on race slicks, which immediately robs it of any road car record. The second is that the Nurburgring 24 Hour runs on a combination of the Nordschleife and the Nurburgring GP circuit, so the 6:33.20 time was “extrapolated” from the full lap time.
But before you dismiss it out of hand, we should point out that it was on slicks because it’s a race car, which was qualifying for the Nurburgring 24 Hour. We should also point out that the SCG was fitted with ballast and down on power, which is down to something called the ‘Balance of Performance’.
Part of organising a top-tier race like the Nurburgring 24 Hour is trying to fit very distinct and disparate cars into a single competitive group, and the Balance of Performance is a way to do just that. As such, the SCG had a comparatively paltry 500bhp on tap from its 3.5-litre V6, and was carrying about 100kg of ballast (for a total weight approaching 1400kg), so that it could run in the SP-X class.
So why, you might be wondering, is this so important?
Well, in the past, Glickenhaus has said that, “with unrestricted road horsepower and no ballast, even on road-legal tyres we hope to kiss a 6:30 Nordschleife lap”. And, considering that the unrestricted, V8-powered SCG003 should be good for about 800bhp and weigh 100kg less, the SCG’s ‘production car’ time could be in that ball park, embarrassing the newly aero-equipped Huracan Performante and even the mighty McLaren P1 LM in the process.
But how is this even possible? Well, remember when James Glickenhaus said the SCG003S would be the fastest-cornering car on sale, capable of more than 2g in the bends? Watch the g-meter in the video; it repeatedly crests the 2g barrier and spends a good chunk of time nudging 1.8 and 1.9. We’re talking about a car that can – on race slicks, admittedly – make you twice as heavy sideways as you are vertically. And that’s something worth pondering for a moment.
And a car that’s quick through the corners is going to be quick around a track. It’s as simple, and as obvious, as that.
You’ll notice that driver Jeff Westphal doesn’t do what Peter Dumbreck did in the Nio EP9’s barnstorming run and avoid the concrete blocks of the Karussel – that’s because the SCG is designed to do it about 170 times in a row during a 24-hour race around the green hell. If you’re a bit of a racing fan, you might also notice that he has pretty much immaculate lines throughout the entirety of the lap. What’s impossible to avoid is just how bloody fast the car is; it seems to compress distance like a deflated accordion and change direction in a manner that’d bruise the ego of a flyweight prizefighter.
We’re properly impressed by this – and not just the outright speed of the SCG003. It’s also the essential honesty of the whole thing, the fact that Glickenhaus’s racer was timed independently and benchmarked against its competition on the same day in roughly the same conditions. There’s no fudging the numbers here – it’s all out in the open and every parameter is obsessively scrutinised by race officials.
At some point, it must be physically impossible to go any faster around the same circuit. Thankfully, we still seem to be a long way away from that day. But, like that time we watched Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, we’re wondering: when will this end?