24h Le Mans 2022: American dream at Le Mans

From film producer to Le Mans winning team boss. This is the American dream of James Glickenhaus (71). For years, his self-made cars have enjoyed cult status at the 24 hours on the Nürburgring. For two years he has been trying his hand at the World Sportscar Championship with a hypercar. “The last victory of an American car at Le Mans was with the Ford GT40 – and that was in 1969. We want to change that,” Glickenhaus says confidently.
So far the dream. And the reality? It’s a David versus Goliath battle. Toyota has won the last four editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. And is also a big favorite in 2022.

Toyota is the clear favorite at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (June 11-12).

Alone: ​​In the World Cup, the Japanese are only in third place – behind Alpine and Glickenhaus. Reason: the accident of one car at the start, a technical defect in the other in Spa.

Alpine, however, has a clear range disadvantage, manages one lap less per stint than Toyota with the fuel. The French are only tolerated in the top class.

They are driving a reworked LMP1 prototype from Rebellion – a vehicle that should actually have been discarded. Alpine won the start of the sports car world championship in Sebring. But after that, the French had 20 hp cut, their naturally aspirated 4.5-litre Gibson V8 cut to 550 hp. For comparison: the 3.5 liter V6 turbo in the Toyota GR010 Hybrid achieves 688 hp, the 3.5 liter V8 turbo in the Glickenhaus SCG 007 at 707.

Glickenhaus has developed a brake-by-wire system together with Bosch.

So the Glickenhaus has a performance advantage. This is how the balance of performance is determined. The organizers try to bring the performance of the vehicles to a level – for more equal opportunities. At Toyota, 270 hp of the total power comes about through an electric motor. But the Japanese are only allowed to shoot this boost from a speed of 190 km/h. Last year that was already allowed at 120 km/h. This should also bring Glickenhaus closer to Toyota without a hybrid engine.

Glickenhaus has also developed a brake-by-wire system with Bosch. This should improve performance and, above all, reliability. Last year the brakes had to be changed at Le Mans. That took too much time.

It is still unclear whether Glickenhaus will rework the engine for Le Mans. Because 2022 biofuel from wine residues will be used, engine supplier Pipo Motors should deliver new spark plugs and a new fuel pump. “But only if that doesn’t come at the expense of reliability,” says Glickenhaus.

One of the drivers is Romain Dumas (44), who has competed in Le Mans 21 times and even won twice. He knows: “The enthusiasm in the team is great.”

Luck in the race might also help. In Sebring, a Toyota retired because José María López had a serious accident. The other Toyota went on strike in Spa – because of a problem with the hybrid system. This is exactly what Glickenhaus is hoping for.

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