Then we had a battery which has four times the capacity of the F1 car and an electrically driven front axle, each wheel with a 120kW motor, which gives you torque vectoring. We also will have an Electronic Stability Program (ESP), which is beyond the one in the current GTR cars which in my opinion is the best in the world. Even if you switch it off, it is still supportive, but you just don't feel it. Put a race driver in the car with the ESP 'off' and they come back with a big smile, but ESP is still there.
AMG boss spills beans on Mercedes $4.5m Project One hypercar
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The Mercedes-AMG 'Project One' hypercar was one of the biggest launches of the Frankfurt Motor Show, and perhaps the most technologically accomplished production vehicles announced so far this year.
Here, Telegraph motoring correspondent Andrew English speaks to AMG boss Tobias Moers about the new $4.5m, 350km/h car.
Q: The Project One is claimed to be the nearest thing to a Formula One car for the road, but Formula One cars a notoriously difficult and uncomfortable to drive. If you don't go fast enough the tyres don't grip, the aero doesn't work, the engines are peaky and you need the reactions of a stoat. How really like an F1 car is the Project One going to be to drive?
A: "That would be an F1 car from before electrification certainly, but I think we need to differentiate the whole vehicle from the powertrain, which is a Formula One power train. You have an electrically-driven turbocharger, so there is no turbo lag. There's instant reaction, a kind jump, the response to the throttle is immediate on power and torque; it has a more immediate response than any atmospheric aspirated engine I've ever come across.
And while we have a lot of aero, this is not a 'down force car', which in my opinion comes when you have a level of down force equivalent to the car's weight. We have low drag and force pressing down on the car, but not to that level, although yes I admit if you lose the downforce you will lose the car; it's at that level.
And you don't need a Formula One team to get the engine started, and it's a car, you can just drive it away.
Q: What have you learned from the project that can be used on more conventional AMG cars?
A: "The most interesting thing is that F1 is helping road cars now. You are aware of that phrase: 'F1 is a rolling laboratory for the future road cars'. Well it's more than phrase these days, it's true. Electric driven turbochargers will be seen more on high performance road cars after 2020. So doing a car like this is an education.
Our customers have asked about doing a hybrid car and for me it was very clear that we needed something more sophisticated for AMG, because we are more than successful and we are now strong enough to define what future performance should look like. In the electrification of powertrains is going to be mandatory, but it's also going to be the key to high performance vehicles in future.
When we showed at Geneva with the hybrid plug in GT Concept it was our first AMG with a hybrid drivetrain and Project One is the second. Both of them are a clear indication of how we define future performance.
Q: Project One implies there will be other projects. When will we learn about them?
A: "No, no [laughs]. It's for Formula One, one car, there is no magic behind the sales or the name. We will make 275 cars only. We have also close to four times that number of interested parties. We will have global allocation to regions and then we'll leave it to the people in charge of those regions to allocate the cars. Perhaps we will not have many people new to the brand this way, but, well, it's OK."
Q: Just having the money to buy the Project One doesn't make you a great driver. What are you doing about teaching owners to respect the power and handling of their cars?
A: "It will be mandatory to have a driving course which we will do in a hand over. I don't think we are going to treat our customers like children, but we will be teaching them to respect the limits."
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