Still buzzing from Glickenhaus Racing’s debut in the new Hypercar category at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with a fourth and fifth overall finish, Jim Glickenhaus reflects on a whirlwind ride and what the future holds.
JIM GLICKENHAUS: “PEOPLE RELATE TO US AND OUR OPENNESS”
Jim, congrats on your first Hypercar Le Mans. How do you feel looking back to last weekend?
We were really delighted and amazed with our result. I think we've improved with every race. I think people tend to forget that we’re up against Toyota and expected us not to finish or that we would be slow. When we had problems back in Monza, we fixed them step-by-step and got through it. I think that’s very impressive.
You had a strong and loyal following on social media throughout the event…
The numbers on social media are beyond belief. Over 23 million impressions over the weekend. Do you know how much time I was on the television broadcast in front of 100 million people over the weekend? Over 20 minutes. Imagine if you had to buy 20 minutes’ worth of commercials? The exposure has been great.
How do you feel about the kind of reaction you've received?
I think there are several things. People relate to us and our openness in sharing how we do what we do. Our sponsors help us get that message out in a trendy way. I could not walk an inch without someone asking me for my autograph (at Le Mans). I think it’s all about being accessible, but also a combination of everything we've done over the past 20 years: the cars, the Nürburgring, the Baja. I also believe it’s because of our social justice work and being outspoken on social media – we’re not afraid to say it like it is.
Going into the race you're obviously optimistic, but did you expect to do as well as you did?
You know, I try not to think about what may or may not happen. I just try to concentrate, every day, on doing the best we can. And what will happen will happen. Did I think it was going to be as good as it was? I hoped we would, but was I convinced we would? Of course not. Something that must be addressed is the Balance of Performance (BoP) rule. Alpine and us were trading third and fourth easily and would have traded third and fourth right up to the chequered flag if we hadn’t had that fuel full-course yellow. But the Toyotas were way too fast. Not a little too fast – way too fast. In the Hypercar poll they were 1.5+ seconds faster than Alpine and us. If there had been a 1.5-second difference in GTE, they wouldn’t have raced. They must fix that. In addition, one of the Toyotas had a fuel pick-up problem and could only do six-lap stints. And they were still way ahead of Alpine and us. They either have to speed us up (we could run more horsepower), our slow Toyota down. The target lap was 3:30. We made that. Toyota ran in 3:23. That’s a lot different. But I’m very encouraged by the WEC and ACO. They want to work this out, they want to make this fair. And I think they will. We will do everything we can to continue racing in the WEC and I’m optimistic we will.
Has what you've achieved in racing over the last few months driven a lot of interest in those other aspects of your work as well, such as your production cars and Baja?
We have a lot of new possibilities, and we will just have to see where they go. But yes, absolutely. I think we're going to be a very viable company. We're going to be able to sell 300 cars a year. And I think we're going to be able to make a zero-emissions, full-size pickup truck and sell it to fleets, contractors and eventually first adapters. We are going to do a small public offering to get our stock traded. And we're doing that so that fans and less wealthy people can take a shot. I don’t need this 1% of the company.