F1 technology to feature in new 2018 Mercedes-AMG hypercar
Mercedes-AMG is to build an F1-powered hypercar for the road. Speaking at the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend, a source within the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team confirmed that the hypercar is a reality and is currently entering the final stages of its design before development begins. It is expected to be revealed in 2017 – the year AMG celebrates its 50th anniversary.
The team source also confirmed that the Mercedes hypercar will be powered by the 1.6-litre V6 turbo engine fitted to the current W07 F1 racer, which is driven by Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. The powertrain will also feature an energy-recovery system capable of taking its total output beyond 1000bhp.
The hypercar market is new territory for Mercedes, despite the fact that in recent times the company has been filling every niche it can, from city cars to trucks. Indeed, aside from a small handful of limited-run, production-car-based specials, Mercedes’ supercar and hypercar aspirations have been kept out of the spotlight. An F1-engined road car, however, will certainly elevate it to the very highest echelons of the performance car world.
Currently, details of by whom and where the car will be developed are unconfirmed. That said, with the drivetrain supplied by the F1 team, much of the work to turn the small-capacity V6 from a highly strung race-winning unit to one that will work within a road car is expected to be carried out at the Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains facility in Brixworth, Northamptonshire.
Whoever it is that is eventually tasked with designing the Mercedes hypercar’s engine will have a big job on their hands to make it production-ready. Today’s F1 engines cannot be started without an external power source, although if the batteries are sufficiently charged, the hydraulics haven’t been lost in the gearbox, and there’s an engineer telling the driver precisely what to do… it is still technically possible.
Nevertheless, a starter motor and power supply will need designing – so too a gearbox that can deal with the day-to-day as much as it can cope with an F1-style start. And, of course, this hypercar will require a cooling system – something F1 cars famously do without.
Power is expected to be in the region of 1000bhp to 1500bhp, with 900bhp of that generated from the V6 turbo engine. It’s not yet known if the F1 car’s engine will be expanded to two litres since Mercedes will be free from motorsport regulations, but any increase in capacity would add a further layer of reliability and driveability – both good attributes in a road car. A second turbocharger is also likely to be fitted.
The rest of the car’s power will come from 160bhp electric motors, with one for each of the front wheels. Mercedes could, however, also opt to fit a further electric motor on the rear axle.
As with the Aston Martin-Red Bull 001, the design of the Mercedes hypercar is going to be very aero-sensitive. Genuine downforce is going to be required to give the car – which is expected to weigh between 1000kg and 1300kg – the grip and traction required to exploit the power available. An F1 car currently generates 1.2-1.5G in braking just when the driver lifts off the throttle, so there is plenty of potential.
The design is expected to mix the look of the W07 F1 car with that of a modern-day LMP1 endurance racer. Construction will be primarily of carbonfibre for the tub and body, with aluminium and other lightweight metals used for the front and rear crash structures. It will, of course, also need to exhibit the fit-and-finish of a Mercedes, along with the strong reliability of the company’s current road and race cars.
Top speed is expected to be above 220mph, although road-tyre development will be a limiting factor (the same will also be true for the target 0-62mph time of less than 2.5sec). In addition to this, rear-wheel steering, torque vectoring and a drag-reduction system will be areas where the F1 race team and Mercedes-AMG’s road-car team will need to work together, though it is not expected that Hamilton and Rosberg will be involved in the development of the car.
Mercedes is yet to disclose more prosaic details about the project such as price and production volumes, but expect numbers to be limited to around 50 (a number that fits with AMG’s anniversary next year) and the price to be in the region of €4million.
Mercedes-AMG declined to comment.
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Mercedes F1 team confirms F1-engined hypercar | Evo