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Oct / Nov 2017
Halo Car

 WRITER: Karim Mounib

Here it is at last, the sensational AMG Project One, Mercedes' Formula One car for the road. 

Mercedes-AMG’s Project One is the stuff of fantasy, yet, it's far from a mere vanity project nor is it some shameless record exploiter. What it is however, is a 2.8 million USD hypercar stuffed with all the tech that the Mercedes-Benz Formula One team developed in order to dominate the pinnacle of motorsports. Such a racing pedigree is evidenced by the fact it will be built at the race team’s facility at Brixworth, England, using Lewis Hamilton’s actual 1.6-litre hybrid V6 (although, in the interest of longevity, after-sales servicing, and general usability, Mercedes did lower the engine's redline from 15,000rpm to 11,000rpm). Some of the other parts to find their way from the F1 to the road car include a lightweight, high strength, carbon-fibre body, a multilink suspension with push-rod springs, a rectangular steering-wheel full of control buttons, a centre-line dorsal fin and of course the battery cells, together with their proprietary cooling system and arrangement.

 

 

“The Mercedes-AMG Project One is the first Formula One car with MOT approval,” said Ola Källenius, Member of the Daimler AG Board of Management responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, at the Frankfurt motor show in September (alluding to the fact the Project One can be registered in the UK, and presumably all other markets). “Our highly efficient hybrid assembly stems from motor racing and the electrically powered front axle generates a fascinating mixture of performance and efficiency. With a system output of over 1,000hp and a top speed beyond 350 km/h (217 mph) this hypercar handles exactly as it looks: it takes your breath away.”

 

Even the Project One’s interior mimics an F1 car, albeit with the addition of a passenger seat. 

 

Certainly, this thing is gorgeous, and even more so in the flesh. We found it to be a well-balanced cocktail of the McLaren F1 at the front, the Lamborghini Aventador J at the rear and the Mercedes Vision Grand Turismo around the midrif, with a hint of Mercedes CLK GTR thrown in for good measure.

Official figures have yet to be released but the Stuttgart-based manufacturer claims 0-200km/h in under six seconds. Just to give you some reference as to how mind-boggling a figure that is: consider the 8-litre W16-engined Bugatti Chiron does it in 6.5 seconds!

 

“We deliberately wanted a calm design with no spectacular details... we wanted to focus on the powertrain,” explained Tobias Moers, the boss at Mercedes-AMG. And what a powertrain it is, with one little turbocharged petrol engine and four electric motors, the performance capabilities of Mercedes' first-ever hypercar are going to be extraordinary.

 

Lewis Hamilton himself was present at the car’s unveiling and though he did admit that no car in the world could come close to replicating the absolute thrill of driving a Formula One car (due to the weight, aerodynamics and sense of position), “This is going to be the closest thing because you’ve got the sound and the technology. I think it’s really going to blow people’s minds.”

Production is due to start in 2019 and only 275 examples will be made with most already spoken for. So, if you're interested, act fast. This one is definitely a keeper.

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