Mercedes' Project One hypercar has begun road testing
The sound of a screaming Formula 1 engine is not an unfamiliar one to the good folk of Brixworth. Generally though the residents don’t hear it on their High Street… Stand back Brixworth, Mercedes-AMG Project One is on the loose at last.
Project One, you may remember, is the three-pointed star’s attempt to make an F1 car for the road – a bit like Aston Martin/Red Bull’s Valkyrie but using an actual F1 hybrid drivetrain. The Northamptonshire village of Brixworth – at the heart of the F1 motor racing industry – is where Mercedes makes its F1 engines and where as of this week the first Project One hypercar has started testing. On public roads.
To save us going up there to scoop it, Mercedes-AMG has kindly taken the pictures of it trundling along the Northants lanes for us. “Because of their characteristic F1 sound they are hard to keep from the public,” admits Merc-AMG.
Project One makes quite a sight on a leafy rural back road. The car was formally unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year but the development prototypes still wear their disguise. But you still couldn’t mistake it for anything else.
If only for that noise of course. The engine – just like the one Lewis Hamilton uses – may be only 1.6 litres but it has a red line of 11,000rpm. It serves up 858bhp to the rear wheels, with the hybrid electric side adding more horses to take the total up to 1000PS, (992bhp).
It is unlikely all that power will be much use on the A508 to Market Harborough, or anywhere around Brixworth in fact where opportunities on public roads to get from 0-124mph in six seconds or hit 218mph flat out are limited.
Mercedes doesn’t say, but we can assume the trials are far more a test of the car’s driveability in real world conditions, including its zero emissions ability to trundle around silently on electric power alone for up to 15 miles. So perhaps the residents of Brixworth won’t hear it coming after all…
Mercedes says the public roads testing comes after months of “virtual testing”, engine dyno trials and high-speed development work on a UK test track. Two hundred and seventy five Project Ones are due to be made, costing £2.1 million each.