Mercedes-AMG's 1000-hp Project One takes to the track
The most ambitious car in Mercedes-AMG's history has been a long time coming. We first met the Project One back in 2017, which in Internet years is several lifetimes ago, so you'd be forgiven for forgetting it existed.
But this thing is the real deal, a road/track focused distillation of the technology that's propelled Mercedes to absolute dominance in Formula One for the last six years and counting.
To quickly recap, it uses a hybrid powertrain featuring an F1-style 1.6-liter turbo V6, with the turbo itself electrically boosted with a monster 90-kW (120-hp) motor to eliminate lag and force even more air. A further 120 kW (161-hp) electric motor applies torque directly to the engine's crankshaft, helping to squeeze more than 500 kW (670 hp) from this combustion unit.
The engine is designed to be much more durable than an F1 donk, but it's still extremely highly-strung for a street car. It'll go 50,000 km (32,000 miles) before it needs a complete rebuild – not what you'd call a tourer, although we'd imagine the vast majority of them will never see a tenth of that distance.
Power is augmented by a pair of 50,000 rpm, 120 kW (161-hp) electric motors on the front wheels, giving the Project One a total power output over 740 kW (1,000 hp) and earning it a spot on our list of the world's most powerful cars.
The cabin looks like it's straight out of a video game, and this thing will rocket you to 124 mph (200 km/h) is less than six seconds on the way to a top speed in excess of 217 mph (350 km/h). Only 275 are being built, and all sold out years ago with collectors salivating over the monster returns they can expect from a US$2.72 million investment.
Now, an eternity after it was first announced, it seems the Project One is starting to get close to production. In video released today, Mercedes-AMG shows the car fully stretching its legs on a test track, having been cleared to use its entire power output.
Testing is focusing on the engine, the track dynamics and driveability of the car, and the active aerodynamics system, which AMG says is "proving its effectiveness outside the wind tunnel." The test car is covered in black and white camouflage to conceal its final lines and livery ahead of a full reveal.
Encouragingly, AMG says the next step will be to point the Project One at the Nurburgring Nordschliefe, and it'll certainly be interesting to see what kind of time a barely-tamed racecar like this can unleash when given a chance.
In the teenage bedroom pinup stakes, though, it's hard to put the Project One ahead of Aston Martin's Valkyrie, and drivers wanting to experience the shrieking howl of a Formula One type of experience would probably get more goosebumps out of Gordon Murray's extraordinary T.50, which features the highest-revving street car engine ever built and some truly loopy aero features.
It doesn't matter, the same corpulent dragons roosting on their piles of gold will probably buy all three and drive none; the hypercar market is starting to look like little but a money-multiplying machine lately, leaving the greatest cars in the one and a bit centuries of the automotive age undriven, and much less interesting for it.
Check out a video below, or jump into the gallery for a ton more photos, both of the camouflaged test version and the original show car that gives a better idea of how this thing will look in production trim.