Project One could be built in UK

Mercedes-AMG mulls manufacturing hypercar alongside its Formula 1 cars

Project One made its world debut at the Frankfurt show

There’s a good chance that the Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar, revealed in Frankfurt a week ago, could be made in the UK, according to AMG boss Tobias Moers, one of a handful of company executives currently deciding its future.

The new hypercar’s engine and many of its body, chassis and suspension parts are already planned to be made in the UK alongside Formula 1 components at Mercedes’ F1 facilities in Brixworth and Brackley. It would be a short step to assemble the car here as well.

The Project One, which has yet to be given an official name, is to be built in a one-spec batch of 275 units, each costing about £2 million. The build rate will be around one a day, with work starting in 2019 once a test and development programme is complete and likely to run into 2020.

Cabin is minimalist and focuses on the driver’s needs

The cars are all sold and many prospective owners were part of the throng at the Frankfurt launch to see for the first time what they had bought. The batch was four times oversubscribed. “In 40 years at Mercedes,” Daimler chief Dieter Zetsche said, “I have never known a car to be surrounded by so much hype.”

The idea that sparked the Project One, the 217mph ‘F1 car for the road’, grew from a single conversation between Moers and F1 engine guru Andy Cowell almost exactly two years ago. Cowell, proud of the durability and performance of his hybrid F1 powerplant that has delivered a world championship win, and Moers, searching for a car to embody AMG’s move into electrification, discussed the plan for the first time in October 2015.

“I knew if we were going to make a car like this, it couldn’t just be a V8, a V10 or a V12,” said Moers. “It had to be more sophisticated than that. We were already making the best engine in F1 so I called Andy. He asked me to give him two months to prepare and then we decided to go ahead.”

Cowell decided it would be possible to set up the Project One engine manufacture alongside F1 engine assembly in a new building at Brixworth works, incorporating a new and exceptionally high-tech dynamometer, and from there the project grew.

The completed car, which uses the same 1.6-litre V6 engine block and cylinder heads as the quad-cam F1 powerplant, plus the same electrically driven turbocharger and pneumatic valve spring technology, uses more F1 components than any road car project in history.

STEVE CROPLEY