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Mercedes-AMG Project One: Meet the F1 car you can MOT

Ever wanted an F1 car for the road? Mercedes-AMG has the answer, if you can afford the Project One’s £2.4million asking price. Here’s everything else you need to know now that the car has been unveiled at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

There are quite a few hypercars on sale if you have deep pockets and crave the best performance money can buy, but Mercedes-AMG plans to decimate them all with the Project One.

The idea behind the Mercedes-AMG Project One is very simple: Build the closest thing to an F1 car you can legally drive on the road. In practice though, it is a huge challenge given the requirements for a production car and the fragility of Formula One racers. 

Until we drive the thing it is unclear just how much of the Project One is clever marketing, but the on-paper figures suggest there could be some truth to it. Allow us to show you why.

1) Mercedes-AMG Project One: The engine

No V12, V10 or V8 here. Instead you get a mid-mounted 1.6-litre V6. Okay so it’s not an ordinary engine, it is actually a hybrid petrol borrowed from the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 racing car but detuned a bit to ensure it lasts more than one race.

The petrol engine can rev to 11,000rpm, unlike anything else on the road with four wheels, while the electric motor on the front axle is good for up to 50,000rpm. Because of the electric turbo, lag is said to be less than you get with a naturally-aspirated V8.

At the front are two more electric motors for a total of four, each one capable of 161bhp (120kW). Overall power is a healthy 1,000bhp+ (740kW), which sees it well within the range of its McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari LaFerrari rivals.

As for the lithium-ion battery system used to power the electricals, it is arranged in the same way as the F1 system but the quantity of battery cells means it is more practical for daily use, which we will get to later.

2) Mercedes-AMG Project One: The design

It looks like an LMP1 car for a good reason. Everything about the Mercedes-AMG Project One has been designed with aerodynamics and speed in mind, ranging from the large wheel arches and air intakes to the large front apron.

The rear of Project One features a two-stage extendible rear aerofoil for keeping it stuck down at high speeds and triple-exit exhaust system. Carbon fibre, meanwhile, features throughout the car, on the inside and out for structural and weight reasons. And because it looks badass.

As for the interior, Mercedes-AMG has provided a minimal, uncluttered cabin for the two passengers Project One can accommodate. Bucket seats hold everyone in place, while the pedals and steering wheel can be adjusted to the driver’s preference.

3) Mercedes-AMG Project One: The performance figures

Now we arrive at the all-important performance figures, although the bad news is that they are suitably vague. But what Mercedes-AMG has told us is that 0-124mph (200kmh) takes less than six seconds. Where is that shocked cat GIF when you need it?

As for the top speed, it is somewhere beyond 217mph (350kmh), which means it could fall short of the Bugatti Chiron (recently shown on video doing 0-249 then back in under 42 seconds, but Project One will certainly give it something to worry about.

4) Mercedes-AMG Project One: The other stuff

An eight-speed manual gearbox designed for the Project One provides the gear changes (with your help), while the body features a high-strength carbon fibre monocoque also borrowed from F1.

Meanwhile the suspension is of the multi-link variety at the front and rear, with push-rod struts installed across the direction of travel designed to prevent roll without hindering comfort.

Each corner of the car is occupied by 10-spoke forged aluminium wheels unique to the Project One and with a clever aerodynamic profile that helps improve downforce while keeping the brakes cool. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres at the front and rear provide copious levels of grip.

To bring Project One to a halt is the job of a carbon ceramic braking system designed to offer serious braking power but without wearing down quickly.

5) Mercedes-AMG Project One: The interior tech

Two high-resolution 10-inch displays, one in front of the driver and the other to the right of the centre console, keep the driver abreast of the important stuff such as how far above the legal limit they are.

Then there is an F1-inspired steering wheel that has a flat upper and lower section as well as an integrated airbag for added safety and two buttons for quick customisation of various aspects of the car such as the driving mode and suspension setup.

6) Mercedes-AMG Project One: The price and running costs

Priced from £2.4million, the Mercedes-AMG is well out of the reach of most petrolheads. But then it will probably hold its value given the low production volumes and level of performance.

If it helps, the electric aspect of Project One means it can do around 15 miles or 25km on electric alone so those impromptu drives to get some milk will never drink any fuel unless you want them to.

Besides, it will be around two years before the Mercedes-AMG Project One reaches production so there is plenty of time to save up. Or you can buy a future AMG and get some of the technologies because Mercedes says some stuff will filter down.

Mercedes bigwig Tobias Moers said of Project One: “The hypercar is the most ambitious project we have every undertaken. It marks yet another pinnacle of the successful, strategic development of Mercedes-AMG towards a performance and sports car brand.

“Project ONE raises the bar in terms of what is currently technologically feasible and thanks to its combination of efficiency and performance it represents an absolute benchmark. At the same time, Project ONE provides an outlook on how AMG will define driving performance in the future.”

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