The car's F1-derived powertrain is to be built at the racing squad's Brixworth base, but it is being adpated for road use by AMG. Moers admitted that the process is extremely challenging during a conversation at the New York motor show.
"That powertrain is really complicated," he said. "It's good, but not good enough yet." Moers added that on-road testing has begun.
While not an immediate priority, Moers revealed that it's "reasonable to speculate" the Project One will eventually try to set a new Nürburgring lap record. He wouldn't be drawn on the car’s simulated Nürburgring lap time, but AMG is known to have studied past lap records in detail, including the outright record of Stefan Bellof, who lapped the circuit in 6min 11sec in a Porsche 956 sports car in qualifying for the 1000km race there in 1983. Bellof also set a race lap record of 6min 25.9sec in the same car.
The production road car record is currently 6min 47sec, set by the Porsche 911 GT2 RS. Moers did say, however, that the biggest challenge he faced in extracting the best lap time from the Project One would be “finding the right driver” to accomplish the feat.
Moers said the downforce generated will be “approximately half the weight of the car” and confirmed that the Project One will weigh between 1300kg and 1400kg. Taking the 1350kg midpoint, this would indicate that the car will likely produce around 675kg of aerodynamic downforce. The lap time will be assisted by this, despite the car not having an enormous fixed rear wing such as that in the recently revealed McLaren Senna, which claims a downforce of 800kg.
It's not clear at what speed the Project One's downforce figure is developed; in the Senna, it comes at 155mph. Like the Senna and Ford GT, the Project One’s driver will be able to lower the car for track driving, increasing the amount of downforce. This is just one of many facts about the hypercar that have emerged since its launch at last year's Frankfurt motor show.
Moers stated very clearly that the 1000bhp output quoted for the car is just what the 1.6-litre V6 hybrid engine is developing on the dynamometer at present and that its actual output will be that figure “plus, plus, plus”. Ultimately, he said he expected it to be below 1100bhp, but it's not yet known by how much.
According to Andy Cowell, head of Mercedes’ High Performance Powertrains division, the biggest challenges with the engine are not keeping it reliable or adapting to road car use; it will idle in a Dubai traffic jam in mid-summer without overheating. Instead, he cited emissions and persuading an engine that usually requires a team of engineers to operate “to start at the press of a button, in all weather conditions, regardless of how long it’s been left”.
It also now seems that, while the engine will be produced in Brixworth, Mercedes’ F1 team will be involved largely on a consultancy basis. Even so, almost all the other important components will be made in the UK, including the bespoke robotised manual eight-speed gearbox that Xtrac is developing, as well as the tub and bodywork, which will be produced by an as-yet-unnamed third party.
Moers confirmed that, despite the car’s price of approximately £2.4 million, AMG received 1100 requests from credible customers for the 275 units that will be built.