With qualifying done and dusted, the Jim Glickenhaus’ two red and white Hypercars have left the pit box and started the mythical 24 Hours of Le Mans. The journey to this point is one that has taken a lot of time, energy and effort. During this weekend's big race, we sat down with the man himself to talk about one of the most exciting weekends in motorsport history.
Jim, we’ve started the 24H race here in Le Mans. What’s going through your mind currently?
It’s almost unbelievable that we’re here. What I mostly feel right now is gratitude. You know, no matter what happens this weekend, we’ve been part of this incredible journey to make it to this point. Destinations or victories come and go but the experience of getting here is what it’s all about.
We’ve been following your journey since the 007’s first kilometres in Vallelunga but the journey started way earlier. When did it start?
The journey really started when I was a young boy who was fascinated by mechanical objects. I would take apart every toy my mom would give me. I would bike to Mr Chinetti’s dealership to watch the beautiful Ferraris through the window. Later I really got to know him and got more and more. He was the last person to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Ferrari back in the 1960s. Through him, I learned a lot about building race cars and how to make them lighter. Later, when I made some money from making movies, I would give half of it to my father to invest and the other half I would use to start my car collection. When we started racing at the Nürburgring, it was an amazing experience, but my real dream was always to be in Le Mans. In the last few years, however, I felt the spirit of Le Mans was a little lost as the budget spent in the LMP1 category was beyond any rationality. No privateer had $400 million to spend on a program. I always told the ACO and FIA that if the regulations would change in favour of Hypercars I would be in. Eventually, they did and here we are.
In the Hypercar category, you are up against Toyota and Alpine, two big manufacturers. Do you see yourself as the underdog? Is it a bit like David versus Goliath this weekend?
Well, there are many factors that play a part. I mean yes, we don’t have the backing and budget big manufacturers have, that’s for sure. Even in terms of regulations, we don’t have the clever hybrid system Toyota has, but we have an amazing team and amazing drivers. I think we surprised everyone with our pace and I’m pretty sure that when it comes down to racing our pace is there and we can run with anyone.
How are you preparing for the event and what’s your strategy to tackle these 24 hours yourself?
My most important role during the next few days is making sure that everyone is excited, and that morale is high. The main strategy for us will be to make no mistakes. If we can achieve that we’ll be on the podium, no doubt.