For the WEC 6 Hours of Monza, the Glickenhaus team came out in full force, bringing both of the SCG 007 Le Mans hypercars as a final test ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in August. We sat down with project manager Luca Ciancetti ahead of the race to learn what it took to build and develop these beautiful machines.
Luca, we’re here in Monza. For Podium Advanced Technologies and yourself, this must feel like a home race. It’s also the first time you’ve got both cars here. How are you feeling?
For me, this is a very emotional moment. We’re here in Monza and we’ve got not just one but two hypercars in a full set-up pit box. We crossed the Ts and dotted the Is. Of course, I must put the emotions aside and look at the rational part as well. We have two cars now and that is double the interactions. You could say two cars cause double the problems [laughs]. Managing this is a bigger challenge as well.
Portimão was the very first race for the Glickenhaus SCG 007 Le Mans hypercars. How do you feel looking back at this debut?
For us, Portimão was the first real test. We returned to our workshop with some very positive points and some negative feedback. The best part is that we didn’t get any penalties or make any mistakes. We struggled a little with some reliability issues but, overall, we are very happy with how the car performed. Now we’ve integrated some changes for Monza and some more will be ready for Le Mans. To be honest, our debut could’ve been way worse. So, we’re very happy with where we stand now.
Monza is a fast track with long straights. Is it the ideal preparation for the big one, the 24 Hours of Le Mans?
Given the current hypercar regulations, there is very little we can change now that the car has been homologated. So, there is only a limited amount of improvement we can do. However, just like in Portimão, we will learn a lot here.
Together with Jim, you started with a blank sheet of paper. What was the biggest mountain to climb and what has proven to be the greatest challenge getting the two cars here?
To be honest I believe it has been the mountain itself. This project consists of so many variables. We never made any huge steps. Of course, the homologation process was a very difficult one, but overall, this project has been a complicated exercise that is made up of so many little parts. As the person managing it’s very important for me to keep the overview and not get carried away with little details. I’m an engineer so it was very hard for me not to get behind the computer and design a part in CAD myself. Every day there are new challenges that arise, and the hardest thing is not to make a single mistake for two years.
We just mentioned him, Jim Glickenhaus, the man behind it all. You two have a lengthy history. What was it like to develop this project with him?
On a personal level, Jim is just the greatest, but also when it comes to a professional level, he’s a fantastic guy to work with. Have you talked with him about automotive history yet? He has an encyclopedic knowledge of automotive and motorsport history. That helps him a lot in pushing our project along. He’s always very supportive and lets us know when we’re doing well and will steer us when he feels we’re going off course. While doing that he will never judge you, he’ll just give you his opinion. On top of that, he’s great to everyone in the team. He knows everyone by name and cares about every team member, from the driver to the assistants. It’s incredible to have him as a part of this journey.
How has the partnership with Motul impacted the team and the process of making it to this point?
For us, Motul has been an instrumental part of the team. If we had just needed a lubricant, we would buy one, but for our project we needed a partner and Motul has made all the difference here. Of course, there is the quality of the product, which is outstanding, but the biggest difference Motul makes is how they support us. Motul has helped us a lot from a technical standpoint, allowing us access to their analyses and technical support, but even more so in how they support us as a team. Someone at Motul once said to me: “We see you are doing great, and we trust you are going to give it your all. So, we support you 100%.” To hear that is incredible from a team perspective. Motul is also one of the only partners we had that was so involved in our program – and that is a nice feeling.