Westbrook sure Glickenhaus can still fight for 2023 Le Mans win
The competition in the the FIA World Endurance Championship’s Hypercar class is set to heat up from now on, with Peugeot’s two-car program beginning at Monza in July, and Ferrari, Porsche and Cadillac all entering the division in 2023 with either LMH or LMDh machinery .
It means that Glickenhaus, a small American boutique manufacturer, will have to battle with some of the world’s biggest car makers next year, all capable of throwing a substantial amount of technical and financial resources at their latest sportscar racing projects.
However, Westbrook believes Glickenhaus can still put up an even fight against its larger rivals, stressing that it has a reliable internal combustion engine built by Pipo Motors, while the likes of Porsche and Cadillac have to contend with a spec hybrid unit that is rumored to have had early teething issues.
“Going into next year there will be a lot more cars but they will have their reliability concerns as well,” the British driver told Motorsport.com. “Especially when you hear in the paddock that it is not completely straightforward with the LMDh cars yet.
“Our philosophy is quite a simple philosophy in terms of not choosing a hybrid system. That will put us in good step for next year when new manufacturers come in.”
#709 Glickenhaus Racing Glickenhaus SCG 007 LMH of Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook, Franck Mailleux with James Glickenhaus
Photo by: Nikolaz Godet
Glickenhaus has made significant strides with the 007 LMH car since its debut at the start of the 2021 WEC season, with Westbrook, Ryan Briscoe and Franck Mailleux finished third at Le Mans earlier this month after a largely trouble-free in the team’s additional #709 entry.
Westbrook explained that he felt much more confident tackling high-speed corners at the Circuit de la Sarthe this year compared to when the car was still new, boosting his hopes that the team will be in an even stronger position for Le Mans’ centenary race in 2023
“It was like a wild horse last year, now it’s like a nice kitten – a nice, domesticated kitten,” said the 46-year-old.
“You look forward to getting in the car, while last year it was like, you got to deep dig and take a few breaths before you run in the Porsche Curves, while now it feels really good. You know it gives me a lot of pleasure.
“We’ve been unlocking a lot more potential from the car this year. While last year we were just keeping it going, just running the car. The rules were so new, and the team was so new. Now we are like, ‘let’s try this, let’s try that’, and we weren’t able to do that last year.
“There is stuff that we’d like to put in for the race but it’s too much of a risk because we haven’t had enough practice time.
“So there are some clear places where we can improve. Definitely, there will be another step next year for sure.”
Toyota driver and team principal Kamui Kobayashi suggested in the wake of Alpine’s victory at the Sebring 1000 Miles opener that the performance of the non-hybrid Glickenhaus 007 LMH is the limiting factor in determining the Balance of Performance for the three-car Hypercar class.
However, Westbrook described such suggestions as “bullshit”, saying that not only the engine has been turned down significantly, but the car is also made to run at a much higher weight than it was designed for.
“We’ve been slowed a lot by BoP,” he explained. “The engine is way down to what it could. I think this engine can easily do 900bhp, so the engine is very, very much restricted.
“And obviously the weight. We are running to the weight the hypercar is set up, we are not under that weight, we are at that weight.
“I’ve heard that argument that the Hypercar [class] is slowed down to the Glickenhaus, but that is absolute bullshit.
“This car was built to [perform] within a downforce window and a power window and it is as simple as that. We haven’t had anything to speed us up. So we are in the window.
“The target was 3m30s at Le Mans race pace, we did 3m25s in quali pace. That argument is bullshit, that the whole formula is slowed down to us. That’s absolutely rubbish.”