Supercar one-upmanship never seems to take a break. The moment one manufacturer breaks a production car lap record at the Nurbugring, or hits a power-to-weight benchmark, its competitors set to work on a vehicular trump card.
Ferrari, McLaren, and Porsche were the most recent contenders for production car top dog. The LaFerrari, P1, and 918 Spyder each used a version of electronically assisted powertrains to achieve new acceleration and output thresholds. Of course, there were a few manufacturers who didn’t appreciate losing their seat at the table. Among them, Bugatti – once the undisputed kind of acceleration and top speed – readied its response.
The Chiron improved on the Veyron’s output by 50%, for a total of 1500 horsepower. None of the hybridized trio could match that. But before the latest Bugatti can take a breath, Aston Martin and Mercedes-AMG will produce their ultimate weapons. Partnering with Red Bull Racing, Aston Martin has begun work on what it calls the Valkyrie. The new model promises a top speed of 250 mph, 0-200 mph in 10 seconds, and a cornering grip of 4.5g.
Now it’s Mercedes-AMG’s turn. Ahead of the 24-hour race at the Nurburgring, the German tuning house revealed the chassis and powertrain for its upcoming “Project One” supercar. Powering the vehicle will be a Formula One-derived powertrain, paired with a slew of electric motors. This is uncharted territory for Mercedes-AMG.
A turbocharged V6, just like the one in Lewis Hamilton’s W07 F1 car, will be connected to a 107 horsepower generator, two 161-hp motors power each front wheel, and a 168-hp electric motor is mated directly to the crankshaft. The result will be more than 1,000 horsepower, a redline of 11,000 rpm, and 43 percent thermal efficiency. An eight-speed automated manual gearbox will send power to all four wheels.
This might be the most motorsports-derived powertrain ever fitted to production car (including the CLK GTR from the late 90’s), and it won’t come cheap. Each of the 275 production units will sell for $2.7 million and Mercedes-AMG expects all of them to sell out before it hits the road next year.