Just hours prior to the start of the Nurburgring 24 Hours endurance race over the last weekend, Mercedes-AMG took full advantage of the motorsport press congregating at the German track to unveil the mind-blowing F1-derived powertrain package that will propel their Project One hypercar.
For the uninitiated, AMG had announced its plan to build a track beast like no other, one that was truly a race car for the road. Previous flagships from various manufacturers uttered the same aim, but none comes close to what the Benz’ high performance arm has in store.
Crucially, this hypercar would be built around the high-revving 1.6-litre V6 turbo engine straight out of a Mercedes-AMG Petronas W07 Formula 1 racer. Sure, it’s slightly modified, such as it being rev-limited to 11,000rpm instead of the 15,000rpm allowed in F1 in order to meet all sorts of emissions regulations and noise restrictions, but make no mistake, this is highly stressed, fragile thoroughbred of a race engine. As such, they say that the engine will need a “rework” after 50,000km, which is actually an astonishing level of longevity.
We previously had some idea about what ingredients AMG planned to use to concoct this unreal car, but exactly how they intended to piece it together into something street legal was not known until now.
Like the F1 power unit, the internal combustion motor is augmented by electric motors in a hybrid configuration. In the case of the Project One, it uses four electric motors for a truly unique package: each front wheel gets its own 120kW motor, there’s a 100kW motor connected directly to the crankshaft to aid power delivery to the rear wheels coming from the V6 via an 8-speed automatic transmission which is itself an structural part of the chassis, and the final motor is used to spool up the massive turbocharger in an instant.
Mercedes-AMG claim that the engine alone generates 558kW while the electric motors output an additional 304kW - over 750kW is all but a sure thing. There’s no official combined power output and torque estimations yet, but we have little doubt that this could be the quickest street car to lap any track in history, especially when considering that the body will make full use of F1-derived aerodynamics and ultralight construction to achieve a kerb weight of under 1,000kg.
That scale number is also incredible given that the Project One also has to lug the batteries that enable the hybrid portion of its power unit. Here, its runs an 800-volt system that’s twice the capacity of the one installed in F1 car that can even run the car for 24km in fully electric mode without invoking the ICE.
Mercedes-AMG plans to reveal a fully realised version of the Project One at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Naturally, the price is astronomical at roughly 3.2 million AUD, but all 275 examples planned for production are already spoken for, reportedly, with all expected to be delivered by 2020.