The next best thing to driving an actual F1 car
The high-octane Frankfurt Motor Show is underway, and the undisputed headline act is this all-new Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar. Mind you, this isn’t some fanciful concept dreamt up as a fantasy project – this is a machine that Mercedes has confirmed will go into production.
Incredibly, it is lifting F1 technology straight from the F1 track. Mercedes are currently leading the constructor’s standing table and its star driver Lewis Hamilton is going hell for leather in his car. This Project One hypercar will use the same turbocharged 1.6-litre V6 petrol engine and electric hybrid that Hamilton is driving this season. Hamilton himself was present at the motor show to launch the car.
Fitting an explosive F1 engine that comes packing with nearly 1,000hp of firepower under the hood requires the car’s aerodynamics and structure to be reimagined altogether. There’s a shark fin design on its roof making its way towards the tail of the car – just like you’d see in an F1 car. A wing deploys at the rear to create downforce so that the car grips the tarmac tighter while it picks up speed. The car can go from 0-200kph in six seconds dead and a top speed of over 330kph.
Inside, there’s a flat-bottomed steering wheel with a number of brightly lit buttons on it that resembles an F1 wheel. Unlike Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas though, you get to enjoy creature comforts like air conditioning and a smartphone dock on the centre console.
The lithium ion battery within the hypercar allows for a range of about 25km. For quick runs within the city, you can rely entirely on electric power without having to switch to combustion mode. The combustion engine can rev up all the way to 11,000rpm – that’s 2,000 more than any car on the road today.
In an interview with Autocar, Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche said about Project One, “This vehicle will make all the performance cars at Mercedes and AMG look small. In 40 years, I have never witnessed as much hype at Mercedes as there was with this car.”
Mercedes-AMG isn’t the only ones racing to bring F1 tech to the road. Aston Martin’s Project Valkyrie in collaboration with Red Bull Racing is in its advanced stages of completion and will also bring F1 technology to a street-legal car.
Only 275 units of the Project One will be made and customer deliveries will begin in the second half of 2019. Even if you can afford the wallet-wilting $2.7 million price tag, Mercedes says that it’s already sold out. But you’d have known that already.