Mercedes-AMG has unveiled a 1,000bhp F1-derived supercar at a preview event ahead of the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. The Project One hypercar is a two-seat hybrid performance model that purports to harness the power of Formula One in a road-legal way, one which will pass an MOT and run on fuel from a normal petrol station.
It’s a mid-engined car, its 1.6-litre V6 petrol engine with electrically-assisted turbocharging placed just in front of the rear axle. This unit has a 11,000rpm red line and works in conjunction with four electric motors, which bring the bhp output into four figures.
While this hybrid powertrain will clearly have some environmental advantages - indeed, the Project One hypercar can travel in zero-emissions silence for up to 25km - the main benefit will be felt on the track. We aren’t sure of real-world figures yet, but Mercedes-AMG claims that its new hypercar will exceed 217mph, and reach 124mph in under six seconds. "Motorsport is not an end in itself for us", says Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
“Faced with intense competition, we develop technologies from which our production vehicles also subsequently benefit. We are drawing on our experiences and successes from three constructors' and drivers' world championships to bring Formula 1 technology to the road for the first time: in Mercedes-AMG Project ONE.” The battery cells, the way they’re cooled and the way they’re arranged come from the Merc F1 car. The company has raised the voltage from 400 to 800, which means that cable diameters can be reduced, thus saving weight. If we hear a better fact from the Frankfurt Motor Show this year, we’ll be amazed.
In terms of looks, there’s a lot to like about the Project One. It’s certainly a visually striking car, with obvious Formula One design cues and several gaping air intakes. Viewed from above, there’s a slightly fishy quality, as well as a nod to classic ‘Gullwing’ Mercs of old. But perhaps most noticeable of all is its resemblance to the McLaren F1 from the early Nineties - a car that remains a performance benchmark to this day. Most of the run of 275 cars have already been ordered. Assuming some are destined for the UK, we expect the Project One (when it is fully finished) to compete with the Aston Martin Valkyrie hypercar that was unveiled at Geneva.