Jim Glickenhaus's dream seemed unlikely from the start. Back in 2013, he set out to build SCG 003—a supercar that could compete in the highest levels of international sports car racing, then swap tires and drive home, legally, on public roads.
The New York multimillionaire's plan took on a more serious air in 2015. Following Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus's appearances at the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring in 2011 and 2012 with the Ferrari-based P4/5, he brought two all-new SCG 003 racers to the 'Ring. With a sensuous, serious body engineered by ex-Pininfarina manager Paolo Garella and a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6, derived from Honda's Daytona Prototype engine and , the car performed well—and more importantly, left driver Ken Dobson completely uninjured after a 125-mph crash during qualifying.
But in a way, the racing was the easy part. It's not terribly surprising that Glickenhaus's deep pockets and even deeper connections in the supercar world conjured a bespoke all-carbon-fiber design robust enough to meet the rigors of top-level GT racing. Turning that racer into a road car, one you could plate, insure, and daily drive? That was going to be a whole new challenge.
Which brings us here. I'm standing in the sweltering pits at Monticello Motor Club watching a horde of engineers buzz around a midnight blue SCG 003. It looks nearly identical to the car that raced at the Nurburgring, with a low, pointed nose, peaked fenders, and a dorsal fin rising off the roof like a comic book speed line.
But there are details here that weren't on the race car: Side reflectors; a third brake light; cut lines in the tinted-with-actual-sapphire carbon fiber bodywork denoting "bumpers" (sacrificial panels that easily swap out after a fender-bender).
It's still a prototype, but this is the one we've been waiting for—Jim Glickenhaus's street-legal SCG 003.
Yes, it still looks very much like the race car. That's not accidental. Glickenhaus's plan involves three varieties of SCG 003, all with the same body and bones. The one that competed at the 'Ring is the 003C, "Competizione" spec—ready-to-race with a series-approved engine, a Hewland racing gearbox, and no concession to the DOT. At the other end of the spectrum will be 003S, for "Stradale," a more luxurious offering with a sensible interior and toned-down aero.
Right in the middle of the three-car lineup is where things get interesting. Glickenhaus's dream really takes shape with the 003CS, "Competizione Stradale," the car you see here.
"This car could race the 24 Hours of Nurburgring as it is, with just an engine change," Glickenhaus told me while the car ran shakedown laps at Monticello. "What I wanted was for someone to be able to drive [to the track], put the car on jacks, put on slicks and race wheels, go out and run all day," he said. "Don't change the suspension, nothing. And then at the end of the day jack the car up and put the road wheels and tires back on."
Key to this is the SCG 003's modular design. Save for the door windows, which are bonded to the A-pillar and flex out at the rear for ventilation, everything on the car bolts together. "This car was in pieces three days ago," Glickenhaus boasts.
That Lego-like modular design is the secret to making SCG 003 street-legal. Glickenhaus intends to sell it as a kit car, thus making it exempt from U.S. airbag and crash-test requirements. Titled as a home-built vehicle, it should be legal to register in all 50 states. "We can send a mechanic on a plane to your shop and help you, take three days, and put the thing together," Glickenhaus said. The car you see here has been submitted for approval as ; Glickenhaus expects to receive approval to register the vehicle for road use within the next few weeks.
The law still requires kit cars to meet new-car emissions requirements. SCG's solution is to base its street engine on a U.S. emissions certified powerplant. Glickenhaus says the 4.4-liter reverse-flow twin-turbo V8, specially prepared for SCG by Manifattura Automobili Torino, will make roughly 800 horsepower and 590 lb.-ft. of torque, with all federally-mandated new-car emissions control equipment intact. Power will go to the rear wheels via the same Cima 7-speed paddle-shift gearbox used by Koenigsegg. (The development prototype shown here has a street-legal, naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter V6 from a different automaker installed for shakedown runs.)
For street use, track days, and club racing, that 800-hp twin-turbo V8 should be plenty. But should you wish to, say, drive to Florida and enter your SCG 003CS in the 24 Hours of Daytona, your pit crew can simply swap in the race car's 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 (Balance-of-Power restricted to around 545 hp) and proper racing seats, and you'll be ready to swap paint with Corvette C7.Rs and Ford GTs. The 003CS has the same dashboard as the race car, with dials to adjust ABS and suspension and a Bosch Collision Avoidance radar that Glickenhaus calls "something the gentleman driver uses more than the pros." The street-spec tires, custom developed by Dunlop, have the same overall dimensions as the race-mandated slicks on 18-inch wheels; the 003CS's (Stradale models will get larger carbon-ceramics). The car even comes with built-in air jacks, just like a real Le Mans racer.
On laps around Monticello Motor Club's impeccably-paved 1.9-mile North Course with SCG program director Paolo Garella at the wheel, SCG 003CS certainly felt Le Mans-ish.
"This is the natural habitat for her," Garella said as I rode shotgun on a handful of laps. "I think for her the road is much more challenging, bumper-to-bumper, stop and go. Out here, it's fantastic."
This was, admittedly, a shakedown run. The SCG 003CS's DOT-legal tires were specially developed by Dunlop; the ones on the car were the only examples in the world, and they had to be preserved. Nobody on the SCG crew was holding a stopwatch. But even so, I could feel the potential in the car. Turn-in is immediate; the pushrod suspension and ultra-rigid carbon-fiber monocoque generate g-forces that threaten to permanently rearrange your face. Even though the prototype's shakedown engine makes less power than either the race or road-tune powerplants, the car accelerated and shifted like a bona-fide exotic, and at an indicated 171 km/h (106 mph) on the back straight, you could feel the aerodynamics beginning to suck the car down. At no moment did it feel like a "kit car." This thing wants to run.
The car's design puts aerodynamics first, and strapped inside, you feel it—by road car standards, the passenger compartment is notably narrow. "If you look at GT cars, they have to fit two 300-lb. people, so the cockpits are wider," Glickenhaus says. "But there's nothing in the GT3 rules that said they had to be [that wide]. So we narrowed it, and we made it P1-ish, in that we channel the air around the car to the wing."
The bodywork hides other aero tricks. The rulebook says the fenders must completely cover the wheels and suspension, but only in plan (top-down) view. From the cockpit, you can see the inner front sidewalls whizzing by, the wheelwells wide open to channel air around the cockpit to that huge rear wing. The center spine that rises fin-like off the roof? It's there to meet minimum cockpit height requirements while keeping the roofline as low as possible; the peaks on the fenders serve a similar rule-stretching purpose.
"The most challenging part was making something that was a real race car, and performed well, but that still looked okay," Glickenhaus told me in the garage. "If you look at the LMP1s, they're the highest level of cars in the world, but they are very hyper-technical looking." The operative, Glickenhaus said, was "to make a car that is really aerodynamically efficient, that doesn't just look like an LMP1 car. Because I think, as cool as they are, it's not a design that 30 years later you'd feel warm about.
"My goal was to make a car that could handle at the top of the GT cars, but that still looked cool."
The SCG team claims that the 003CS, in full street-legal trim with the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 installed, will weigh less than 2400 lbs. ready to drive. Glickenhaus says the racing aero kit shown here generates an astounding 1000 kg (roughly 2200 lbs.) of downforce at 125 mph, and claims that on race tires, the car can pull 2.5g.
Based on the SCG 003C race car's 8:01 lap time at VLN (which into one long lap), Glickenhaus estimates a 6:21 lap time for the Nordschleife alone. As for the road car? "On road tires, I don't know, add 10," he says. "And the difference is, it can do it for 24 hours. I would challenge a LaFerrari to go flat-out for one hour."
And to Jim Glickenhaus, that makes all the difference. "I love sports cars," he says, leaning on the word. "The kind of car where you can tape up the headlights and go racing. But today, a racing Ferrari has nothing to do with the LaFerrari; a racing McLaren has nothing to do with a P1. They're just monstrously big and complex."
Viewed in that light, the SCG 003 makes sense as a sane reaction to the relatively insane state of modern sports car racing—a Balance of Power world that chokes the Daytona-winning Corvettes down to 150 hp less than the Z06s at your local Chevy shop. The gap between road cars and racers seems to get wider and stranger every year. A supercar that can truly succeed in both environments is a heartening effort to buck that trend, even if it needs a plug-and-play racing drivetrain (making less power than the street engine) to do so, and even if its projected price will make it a millionaire's plaything.
That's the rub: Price. Glickenhaus says that if he can find buyers for 10 SCG 003s, he'll be able to sell them for about $1.3 million apiece. Even then, he tells me, SCG won't be turning a profit on them.
Not that he has to sell any. True, Glickenhaus says he has "a good $10 million" tied up in the project, but it doesn't bother him. "If you're lucky enough to be able to afford it, never add it up," he says of endeavors like this. "Worse comes to worse, I'm gonna have a street-legal one and I'm gonna have a race car."
Still, there's a long-term goal here. "If we sell 10 of them, we will go on racing indefinitely, and if we sell 20, we might be able to go to Le Mans with a non-hybrid LMP car," Glickenhaus said. "That's my dream—to race Le Mans in the top category as a privateer. That would be, all in, about a $30 million venture."
The street-legal SCG 003CS will make its public debut at on August 19th, during this year's automotive festivities at Pebble Beach. Interested in having one of your own? Talk to Jim.