The F1 car for the road is inching closer to its final form.
Introduced in concept form about a year ago at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Mercedes-AMG Project One has been promoted to prototype status. Essentially, the hypercar represents Affalterbach’s vision of putting its Formula 1 know-how to good use on a road-going production model set to become the pinnacle of automotive engineering.
The new images released today by Mercedes are not showing the Project One on a public road, but on “closed off test grounds” somewhere in the U.K. The photos were likely taken at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire where the high-performance machine is being tested to optimize all the hardware and software as well as iron out the kinks before the start of production. As a reminder, only 275 cars are being built and all of them have already been sold.
Unfortunately, Mercedes-AMG is not quite ready to offer all the juicy technical specifications, so we’ll just remind you what we know already. Total output is set to exceed the 1,000-horsepower mark thanks to a turbocharged 1.6-liter V6 engine adapted from the company’s Formula 1 car and working together with four electric motors. One is built into the turbocharger, one sits in the combustion engine, and the other two are positioned on the front axle.
The combustion engine alone produces 671 hp (500 kilowatts), with the rest until the four-digit amount of horsepower coming from the quad electric motors. We also know the V6 has the redline at an incredible 11,000 rpm, with Mercedes-AMG saying the “characteristic F1 sound they [the prototypes] are hard to keep from the public.”
Those fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to sign their names on the dotted line (AMG got 1,100 requests or four times more than the production run) will have to face the epitome of a first-world problem: the F1-derived engine will have to be rebuilt after 50,000 kilometers (31,070 miles). That might not be an issue as the Project One has all the ingredients to become a smart investment, so some owners might decide to keep them locked up in a garage and sell at a profit years later.
We could be looking at a Nürburgring record holder in the making as AMG’s Tobias Moers has strongly hinted the Project One will tackle the Green Hell to try and grab the title for the fastest production car. That title currently belongs to the Lamborghini Aventador Superveloce Jota with a time of 6 minutes and 44.97 seconds. The overall record was claimed earlier this year by Porsche with the 919 Hybrid Evo lapping the Nordschleife in 5 minutes and 19.54 seconds, but it’s hard to believe a road-legal car will ever get close to that.
As a final note, the top image shows a prototype with a few GoPro cameras slapped onto the body, so we’re hoping some footage will be released soon with the work-in-progress hypercar.
Gallery: Merecdes-AMG Project One prototype undergoing road testing
Mercedes-AMG Project ONE: Prototype Testing
The development of the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE show car, presented at IAA 2017, had been intensively worked on behind closed doors for several months. In a highly complex, digital development process ("Project ONE Virtual Engineering"), the transnational project team worked towards its common goal: putting Formula 1 hybrid technology on the road.
Hundreds of testing hours have already been spent to master the immense challenge of making the high-performance drive unit ready for series production: the whole powertrain including all hybrid components underwent the toughest race track tests on the high-performance dyno tests of HPP's engine specialists in Brixworth.
The successful completion of the dyno tests was followed by the installation of the highly complex powertrain into the first prototypes, which since then have been driving around unnoticed on a secret test ground in England. But today it turns out to be more difficult to keep this testing confidential: the camouflaged prototypes of the Mercedes-AMG hypercar are still being driven on closed off test grounds and racetracks. However, because of their characteristic F1 sound they are hard to keep from the public.