New Metal (Carbon) | Mercedes-AMG Project One Concept

We’ve heard all the cliches before, but could this actually be the closest thing ever to a road-going F1 car? Well, it’s got the engine from an F1 car for a start…

2017 Mercedes-AMG Project One Concept

Yes indeed, powering the Merc-AMG Project One is the very same 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 used by Lewis and Valtteri every other weekend. Not exactly the same, as the one used here is tuned to use regular super unleaded fuel. will rev to only 11,000rpm. The latter being done to aid reliability – we imagine buyers wouldn’t be best pleased about receiving grid penalties for needing to change turbochargers and gearboxes several times each year…

2017 Mercedes-AMG Project One Concept

Like an F1 car, there’s electrical power as well. Four electric motors in fact, with two driving the front wheels, one added to the turbocharger and one directly attached to the V6 engine itself. All combined, the Project One has a power output in excess of 1,000hp. Granted that isn’t as powerful as a Bugatti Chiron, but lightweight construction and the instant torque hit of the electric motors make that a fairly moot point. For those who want to play Top Trumps, the quoted 0-124mph time of under 6 seconds is  quicker than the 6.5 seconds recorded for the Bugatti. Substantial downforce means a more normal top speed of around 220mph is estimated for the mega Merc.

2017 Mercedes-AMG Project One Concept

An eight-speed AMG Speedshift gearbox controls the power from the engine and, just like an F1 car, features paddles for manual shifting. Unlike an F1 car, ABS is standard for the carbon ceramic brakes, as is a three-stage ESP system which features a Sport Handling Mode, or even the option to turn the assistance off entirely. We imagine that will some serious guts, even with the aid of all-wheel drive and torque vectoring.

2017 Mercedes-AMG Project One Concept

Mercedes-AMG is keen to point out that the looks of the Project One are directly influenced by the F1 racer, although that is a little harder to translate into road car form. Aside from the curving air intake looming over the roof, and accompanying shark fin, the overall styling resembles a Group C racer more than Grand Prix car. The two-stage rear wing is hidden until needed, and the rear diffuser looks less elaborate than ones used on other hypercars. The triple exhaust tailpipes – one large, two small – is a neat nod to the F1 car, however.

2017 Mercedes-AMG Project One Concept

Remember not to pick ‘engine displacement’ when playing Top Trumps with this.

Inside things are still extreme, but slightly more familiar, with an iPad-like screen protruding from the dashboard just like any other Mercedes-Benz. It might be a riot of carbon fibre inside, but there’s still luxuries such as air conditioning and even electric windows. No word on whether you can stream music to truly get in the zone for ‘Hammer Time’ on your morning commute, though. There’s no rear view mirror – given the giant air intake and shark fin it would be useless – so instead you gain a roof-mounted screen, displaying images from a rear-facing camera. Not even F1 drivers get that.

2017 Mercedes-AMG Project One Concept

This a deeply impressive piece of engineering from Mercedes-AMG, and one which perhaps does come closest to capturing the dream of a road-going F1 car. But we can’t help but wonder whether this really meets the concept of F1 technology being relevant to road cars. Is this really what the FIA had in mind when downsizing engines and adding hybrid power to F1? No, probably not, but hey at least it’ll do over 15 miles on electric power alone. That’s progress, right?

2017 Mercedes-AMG Project One Concept

But who is driving the Project One ahead of Hamilton? Not Nico, is it?

Mercedes-AMG notes that the hybrid and electric motor technology featured here will trickle down to more sensible products over time. That does at least make the Project One relevant to more than just the 250+ buyers willing to spend £2million on a hypercar trinket. Those fortunate few will have another 18 months to wait before receiving their cars, giving the FIA plenty of time to change regulations and instantly make it irrelevant over night. At least it doesn’t need a Halo device…

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