What is AMG + Mercedes-Benz + Formula 1 + Lotus? The answer might be the a generation-defining hypercar.
Not content with dominating the Formula 1 world constructors championship in 2014, 2015, and what’s shaping up to be their third overall win in 2016, Mercedes-AMG is possibly on the cusp of publicly revealing their plans for a road going hypercar developed with F1 tech. And, as icing on the cake, there are reports of a suspension tuned by Lotus.
Not just F1 technology, I should say, since a lot of supercars and hypercars of this generation and the one before and beyond have benefitted from materials and combustion know-how gained from the crucible of motorsport. The most obvious examples being carbon fibre and adaptive suspension.
In the case of this purported AMG road racer, a member of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas team revealed to UK’s EVO Magazine that work is being done on hybrid hypercar powered by the same F1 engine as found in the 2016 season leading car, the Mercedes F1 W07 Hybrid.
AMG’s 50th anniversary is arriving in 2017, and the car is meant to act as an anniversary present to itself as well as being a new benchmark to showcase the best of what Mercedes-Benz can develop. For Lotus’ part, the British sports car makers renowned for their chassis expertise could be offering their services as a consultant in much the same way they did with Nissan in development of the R35 GT-R. It’s no surprise that they were tapped to help shoulder the ambitious project’s development.
No road car has ever been so closely linked to Formula 1 in the way that Mercedes-AMG’s newest may be looking to do. In the 1990s, the McLaren F1 shared many materials, construction methods, and chassis technologies with the F1 racers of its day. And in that same era the Ferrari F50 went so far as to use an F1 car’s engine block as the basis for its gloriously sonorous 4.7-litre V12, itself bolted to the frame of the car for maximum rigidity.
These reports of an AMG foray into hypercars are perhaps been spurred internally by the emergence of the AM-RB 001, vehicular unicorn that Aston Martin will be building in concert with the Red Bull F1 team - also borrowing heavily from today’s F1 cars.
Apparently, this upcoming contender from the Benz camp is close to having its design finalised with prototype development and testing soon to follow. What isn’t certain however, is the exact implementation of the reported F1 engine.
Will they opt to use the same 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 unit as their current race cars do? The reliability issue factors in quite heavily as the stresses those motors have to undergo over race weekends do mean they literally destroy themselves after a certain number of Grand Prix. And converting them for road use will pose a significant hurdle.
Perhaps, then, they will choose to heavily de-tune the petrol engine in favour of leaning more on the electric portion of the hybrid setup to attain its presumably lofty performance goals. The W07 F1 car produces in the region of 1,500hp (1,118kW), with roughly 900hp (670kW) of that generated from just 1,600cc of displacement spread over six cylinders.
Some have speculated that displacement could be enlarged to 2.0-litres or beyond to improve reliability and lower-speed driving response. The transmission, as well, will have to be designed from the ground up to meet the packaging, endurance, and performance levels deemed necessary by a road going car with F1-like specifications.
More on this as it develops.