Racer and supercar creator Jim Glickenhaus proposes regulated ‘Ring times
Lamborghini’s latest Nürburgring lap has been the talk of the Geneva motor show. But much of it hasn’t been congratulatory, and the debate about how relevant ‘Ring times are – and how dangerous chasing them can be – has opened right back up.
“I’m not sure that the record means anything,” says Jim Glickenhaus, creator of the 350kph SCG003S. It’s a supercar that’s made its debut at Geneva, derived from a car that’s raced at the ‘Ring, and with claims it’ll hit a 6:30 around the Nordschleife. That’s over 20 seconds quicker than the Huracan Performante.
“What I want to do is endow a Glickenhaus road cup,” he continues. “On the day of the Nürburgring 24 Hours, after the top 30 shootout for the race, the road cars are scrutinised, and then we time them on the Nordschleife. And then there’s no bulls***.
“I would love to see it. Lamborghini bring their Huracan, and I bring my little New York road car [his ex-race car has been converted to road use, and wears New York plates], and we’ll see who’ll go round the quickest.
“It’s the only fair and real way to do it. This is what I think it needs. You get the trophy for a year, we engrave your name on it, next year if someone beats you, they get it. But it’s real. The same day, the same weather, the same amount of rubber. Then you guys aren’t driven frigging crazy by claims and videos. I don’t believe any of it.”
Glickenhaus already awards a trophy to the fastest qualifier at the ‘Ring 24 Hours each year, which is currently held by Mercedes. And he believes doing the same could finally bring some regulation to the murky world of production car lap times and records.
“I’ll endow the cup, they get to make the rules, everyone will love watching it. No mystery. And you should have to drive it 160km on the road before you do it. It’s a real road car with a real licence plate.”
If he’s so bullish about the relevance of ‘Ring lap times, we ask why the SCG003S arrives with claims it’ll set a record there.
“To build a car that can go for 24 hours is completely different to making a car that can do one fast lap. That thing [his former race car] did 6:20 on the Nordschleife during a race.
“Can we make a cheater version of the new production car, with road legal tyres that could do a 6:30? Yeah we could do it, what could it prove? We want a car where you can buy tyres at the local fitter, drive it to the Nürburgring, and do, say, a 6:45 lap. That’d be a piece of cake. If you get lower than that, what does it mean?”
We ask what his approach will be if the Glickenhaus cup doesn’t happen. Manufacturers, we suspect, will be very wary. “Then we’re going to have to talk to our tyre supplier and figure out what they wanna do. I’m really less interested if I can’t do it regulated, because what does it mean? If you use one set of tyres for one lap, what does that mean in the real world?”
Over to you. Does a road car shoot-out at the ‘Ring sound unbelievably exciting, or a recipe for disaster in front of a packed race crowd? Or is the mystery and intense debate surrounding ‘Ring records all part of the fun?