It was unveiled three years ago and two years ago we reported testing had started – and now the Mercedes-AMG Project One is… still testing. Well at least Merc’s much-vaunted “Formula 1 car for the road” hasn’t run out of road…
After a year of silence Merc-AMG has today confirmed the 1,000PS hypercar rival for the Aston Martin Valkyrie is alive and kicking. It has entered the latest phase of its development with several pre-production cars, fitted with what is said to be the final version of its petrol/electric hybrid power unit, running fast laps at the firm’s Immendingen proving ground. Next up are even faster laps on the north loop of the Nürburgring.
For this final hurdle before owners get their hands on the AMG One – still thought to be scheduled for 2021 – everyday driveability of the F1 drivetrain and fine tuning of the active aerodynamics are said to be the priorities.
It will be the first time the active aero components – the louvres, air outlets and rear aerofoil – have proved their worth at speed outside the wind tunnel. The cars are still wearing their prototype livery but are not thought to be substantially different from the Project One first seen three years ago at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
A great deal has happened in the world of hypercars since then; 1,000PS is not that unusual now and even the AMG Project One’s 11,000rpm rev limit is beaten by Gordon Murray’s T50. But the road-legal One remains unique in using an actual F1 drivetrain, not so different from that used by Lewis Hamilton.
That means a V6 of 1.6 litres delivering 870PS to the rear wheels, with the hybrid electric side adding more horses to take the total up to 1000PS. In the past Merc-AMG has cited performance of 0-124mph in six seconds and 218mph flat out, along with electric-only running of up to 15 miles .
Despite more high-power competition than ever, AMG remains adamant the Project One will deliver “a new dimension of driving dynamics and performance for a road-going vehicle” and become “a new milestone in automotive history”.
If testing goes to plan the £2.1 million Project One will be in a showroom near you in 2021. Not that that will help you much if you haven’t already put your name down for one of the 275 cars to be built (like David Coulthard, who has bought an AMG Project One and an Aston Martin Valkyrie). In the past the company has said all are spoken for – though after such a long delay it is not known if any customers have got cold feet.
Which would you rather have: Aston Martin Valkyrie or Mercedes-AMG Project One?