Project One, the Mercedes-Benz hypercar project, is back on track according to Tobias Moers, chief executive of the Mercedes-owned tuning and performance firm AMG, who admits that there have been “challenges” since the car was unveiled on the eve of the Frankfurt motor show almost a year ago.
The 1,000bhp car, which is predicted to cost 2.25 million euros, has begun testing at a British circuit this week.
Just 275 examples will be built and they’re all sold. Moers said that despite the setbacks, the project is still on schedule to deliver the first examples in 2020.
Project One’s top speed is as yet unspecified, but 0-62mph acceleration is expected to take about two seconds.
These semi-official spy pictures showing the car lapping the Mountain Circuit at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire, although the location of the actual test circuit that the project team will use is as yet undisclosed.
Moers said: “It’s ambitious, and we’ve had our journey, but now we’re back on track. The biggest challenge has been powertrain, not durability but OBD [On Board Diagnostics], which is a different world.”
The Project One car uses a 1.6-litre V6 hybrid Formula One drivetrain similar to that of the 2015 race car of Lewis Hamilton, but with a bigger battery pack – although still of the same rarefied F1 type.
The car is being developed jointly by the company’s Formula One team Mercedes-AMG Petronas based at Brackley, the engine builder HPP at Brixworth and at AMG headquarters in Affalterbach, Germany. Several AMG executives report frequent circulations between all three sites.
A statement read: “In a highly complex, digital development process (‘Project One Virtual Engineering’), the transnational project team worked towards its common goal: putting Formula One hybrid technology on the road.
“Successful completion of the dyno tests was followed by the installation of the highly complex powertrain into the first prototypes, which since then have been driving around unnoticed on a secret test ground in England. But today it turns out to be more difficult to keep this testing confidential, [although] the camouflaged prototypes of the Mercedes-AMG hypercar are still being driven on closed test grounds and racetracks.
“However, because of their specific and very characteristic F1 sound, they are hard to keep from the public.”