The Formula One car for the road – the $5 million Mercedes-AMG Project One – has moved from test benches to test tracks, before going into production next year.
Australian buyers have secured eight of the 275 examples planned to be built – even though the car can’t be registered on local roads because it will be made exclusively in left-hand-drive.
The identity of the Australian customers remains a secret, and CarAdvice understands some owners may keep their cars overseas.
However, the buyers are likely to be well-heeled. The Australian Luxury Car Tax alone on this vehicle will cost about $1.1 million.
Mercedes has overnight released teaser images of the AMG Project One in the final stages of development.
Behind the camouflage is the final production-car body. Under the skin is a screaming Mercedes Formula One engine based on the design used from 2014 to 2016, with an epic 1000 horsepower (735kW).
That amount of power is the equivalent output of about seven Toyota Corollas – in a car that weighs less than most hatchbacks.
Mercedes concedes it has been a challenge to tame the 1.6-litre V6 Formula One engine for the road.
In a media statement issued overnight, the company said prototypes are now setting hot laps at the company’s proving ground in Immendingen with Formula One power-units “at full electrified strength” and outputting more than 735kW.
“The program will now shift to focus on further refining the hypercar’s road-going driveability and active aerodynamics, followed by more obligatory performance testing at the Nürburgring,” says Mercedes. “Testing has thus now largely transferred from the test stands to concentrate … on test tracks.”
Mercedes said the adaptation of a complete Formula One drive unit for a hypercar with road approval – while delivering everyday performance and be able to drive in all-electric mode – represented a “tremendous challenge”.
“As far as many aspects were concerned, such as noise level, the development team ventured into uncharted territory with this project,” says Mercedes, “working with great tenacity and exceptional engineering expertise to find solutions that could be developed (for road use)”.
Complete technical details are yet to be released but earlier reports have indicated the Mercedes-AMG Project One – which was unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show in 2017 – will have the same type of battery cells and cooling system used in the Mercedes F1 race car. It will also reportedly be able to drive 25km on battery power alone.
Mercedes is yet to publish a 0 to 100kmh time, but it’s expected to hit the speed limit in less than 3 seconds and pass 200kmh in less than 6 seconds.