One of the most ambitious ventures ever undertaken by a carmaker now has a name, the Mercedes-AMG Project One.
AMG boss Tobias Moers joined Mercedes-Benz chief Dieter Zetsche to open proceedings at the Detroit motor show, and drip-feed information about the F1-engined hypercar ahead of its public unveiling at Frankfurt in September.
“I know there is wide speculation regarding its performance data. So let me tell you, expect a combined power output of more than 1000hp (746kW),” announced Moers.
“Add to that an electrical range of about 25kms, a front axle driven purely by our powerful and highly efficient Formula One wheel-selective electric motors, and you get one of the most fascinating two-seaters that ever hit the road.”
Project One will utilise a 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 hybrid powertrain, lifted from the championship-winning Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 car, which will be “slightly modified” for road-going duties.
Speaking afterwards to Australian media at the show, Moers shared further details about the state of development.
“We just fired up the first engine running at lower revs at idle speed, which is a revolution for a Formula One engine not idling at 3000 revs!”
“Getting a Formula One engine street legal in terms of emissions is a challenge.”
Now that a suitably heady power figure has been mooted, discussion moves to performance figures, though Moers would not be drawn on specifics.
“I have my targets. We have a clear understanding about what is the target, but I don’t want to lay that on the table.”
Electric motors at the front of the car will facilitate all-wheel-drive and torque vectoring. The toughest complications for AMG at this point are the gearbox and the aerodynamics, about which Moers says “active aero is key”.
Simulations are currently underway to determine more of the setup specifics. A working prototype will be built for the Frankfurt debut, and not driven until after it has been revealed, Moers confirmed.
It’s a bold and aspiring endeavour, though Moers and Zetsche are single-minded in their resolve to see it through.
“There was no alternative in my perspective,” Moers said.
“To bring a hypercar to the market it has to be something really innovative, really different.
“Bringing a hypercar with a V8 or a V12, it’s just another one. This is much more outstanding. It’s the pinnacle of what you can execute today.”
AMG revealed its new GT C Coupe at the Detroit show to kick start its Golden Jubilee celebrations. Project One is set to be the cherry on top of a big year of product announcements.
“At the age of 50, we don’t even think about slowing down. For me, the best way to celebrate is with more launch parties over the year. At AMG we live up to our reputation as performance enthusiasts.”
Project One’s powertrain is built at the company’s F1 HQ in Brackley, UK, and discussions are underway as to whether Project One itself will find a home for assembly there, or at AMG’s facility in Affalterbach.
Less than 300 will be made and sold at a price of more than $2.88mil (€2mil) each. A brochure concerning the car was shown to select journalists at the show, highlighting its Project One working title and featuring the illustrations shown here.
Customer deliveries of the finished cars will not happen before 2019, and deciding who will get one is a task Moers says he does not want to be a part of.
“We will discuss with our markets, they bring us their prospects, we put all the prospects on a list and have a discussion.”
Six orders are already held by Mercedes-Benz Australia.