Project One’s brute downforce

Project One looks set to beat the P1’s 600kg downforce

AMG’s 1000bhp hypercar to produce more downforce than any road car before it

Mercedes-AMG’s forthcoming Project One hypercar appears set to generated more aerodynamic downforce than any previous road-legal car in automotive history.

Tobias Moers, boss of the AMG performance division, said downforce generated will be “approximately half the weight of the car” and confirmed Project One will weigh between 1300kg and 1400kg, not the 1200kg reported elsewhere.

Taking the 1350kg midpoint, this would indicate that the car will likely produce around 675kg of downforce, eclipsing even the 600kg claimed for the McLaren P1. It is not clear at what speed this figure is developed: in the P1, it came at 160mph, whereafter the car was designed to shed downforce to reduce high-speed drag. Like the P1 and the Ford GT, the Project One’s driver will be able to lower the car for track work, increasing the amount of downforce generated under it.

It is just one of many facts about the hypercar that have emerged since its launch at September’s Frankfurt show.

As an example, Moers stated very clearly that the 1000bhp output quoted for the car is just what the 1.6-litre V6 hybrid engine is developing on the dynamometer at present and that its actual output will be that figure “plus, plus, plus”. Ultimately, he said he expected it will be below 1100bhp but it is not yet known by how much. According to Andy Cowell, head of Mercedes’ High Performance Powertrains division in Brixworth, the biggest challenges with the engine are neither keeping it reliable nor adapting to road car use, saying it will idle in a Dubai traffic jam in mid-summer without overheating. Instead, he cited emissions and persuading an engine that usually requires a battery of engineers to operate “to start at the press of a button, in all weather conditions, regardless of how long it’s been left”.

Moers would not be drawn on the car’s simulated Nürburgring lap time but the company is known to have studied past lap records in detail, including the outright records of Stefan Bellof who lapped the circuit in 6min 11sec in a Porsche 956 in preparation for the 1000km race there in 1983 and the 6min 26sec he set in the race itself. The production road car record is currently held at 6min 47sec by the Porsche 911 GT2 RS. Moers did say, however, that the biggest challenge he faced in extracting the ultimate lap time from the car would be “finding the right driver”.

It also now seems that while the engine will be produced in Brixworth, Merc’s Formula 1 team will be involved largely on a consultancy basis. Even so, almost all the other important components will be made in Britain, including the bespoke robotised manual eight-speed gearbox that Xtrac is developing and the tub and bodywork, which will be produced by an as-yet-unnamed third-party supplier.

Moers confirmed that despite the car’s price of approximately £2.4m, he received 1100 requests from credible customers for the 275 units that will be built.

ANDREW FRANKEL

A HYBRID VISION OF THE FUTURE

Production hybrid will be based on the Project One

AMG boss Tobias Moers has confirmed that the Project One’s hybrid set-up will make it into a series-production car by 2020 or 2021. While he wouldn’t disclose which model, he described the Project One as a “front-runner” for other models, which gives AMG “a lot of options”.

While such a model may not use the turbocharged 1.6-litre V6 petrol engine sourced from Mercedes-AMG’s W08 F1, it would employ four electric motors in the same set-up.

In the Project One, one motor is used to drive the turbocharger. A further, larger motor is integrated directly into the driveshaft at the rear in a layout similar to the MGU-K (motor generator unit – kinetic) used in the current generation of F1 cars.

The remaining two motors sit within the front axle, providing drive to the front wheels.