Conspicuous by their absence in the hybrid-hypercar showdown over the past few years, Mercedes-AMG have revealed what is essentially a Formula 1 car for the road
The ‘Project One’ was also known by a few other names, including ‘R50’, and saw many a rendering surface around the Internet. Mercedes have put the entire speculative furore to rest and created a whole new buzz, officially revealing the concept of the 1,000+ PS Project One hypercar.
The highlight? The 1.6-litre V6 hybrid powerunit straight off the F1 car; although there are some changes. First, the rev-limit has been toned down from 15,000 rpm to 11,000. This is to ensure a longer life and to compensate for regular Super Plus fuel — non-racing fuel. The engine is, essentially, a racing engine, with pneumatic valve actuation, spur gears for the overhead cams, direct fuel-injection, an electrically-assisted single turbocharger, and the two Motor Generator Units for Heat and Kinetic energy (MGU-H and MGU-K, respectively) from the F1 car.
The output, then. The combustion engine makes around 750 PS, with four electric motors on board. The first is a 90-kW (122-PS equivalent) unit on the turbo-shaft. The turbocharger itself is split, with the exhaust gas and compressor turbines separated and located at optimal positions on the exhaust and intake sides, respectively, and connected by a shaft, which the motor assists in spinning up to 100,000 rpm depending on load requirements. Power is transferred to the rear wheels by an all-new eight-speed automated manual transmission, developed from scratch. It is activated hydraulically and can be operated in automated mode or manually, using the shift paddles.
The electric turbocharger performs another function: part of the surplus energy recuperated from the exhaust system is used to generate electricity. This is either stored in the lithium-ion battery or is used to power a second electric motor, a 120-kW (163-PS equivalent) unit, mounted on the rear of the engine, linked to the crankshaft via a spur gear. More performance, more efficiency.
Finally, the third and fourth electric motors, each 120-kW (163-PS equivalent) and spinning up to 50,000 rpm, drive the front wheels. With the electric motors at the front and the combustion engine at the rear, the Project One effectively features an electric fourwheel-drive, and combined peak output of well over 1,000 PS — up to 326 PS at the front and 750+ PS at the rear. The entire powertrain boasts of a thermal efficiency of over 40 per cent.
Aerodynamics is also an area where the Project One shines. Derived directly from the F1 race car, the roof-line is dominated by the air intake, through which the engine takes in large volumes of air. The vertical shark fin, almost identical to the F1 car, improves lateral stability when cornering at high speed. Two large NACA air inlets (low drag air inlets developed by the US National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, erstwhile NASA) ensure optimum guidance of the airflows for the engine and transmission oil coolers located at the rear end.
Inside, the cabin for two sports bucket seats with adjustable back-rests, with an F1style rectangular steering wheel and just the essentials. Two 10-inch digital displays show all the information from the various systems.
The engineers have also managed to keep the weight down to just 1,000 kg, including the high-voltage battery packs. That helps the Project One break the 1:1 power-to-weight barrier. The weight management is helped in no small part by the F1-derived suspension system: a multi-link setup front and rear, with adjustable coil-overs and pushrod struts mounted across the direction of travel. Highperformance brakes get standard ABS, with the ESP available in three modes: On, Sporthandling, and Off. The wheels are lightweight alloys with three flat ventilation slots per spoke assisting with brake heat dissipation. The tyres are Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 specially developed for the hypercar: 285/35 ZR 19 front and 335/30 ZR 20.
The Mercedes-AMG Project One will be produced in strictly limited numbers with a price tag of €2,275,000 (Rs 17 crore).