Fresh from completing a successful campaign in the 2020 Formula One World Championship, Mercedes-Benz AMG's Lewis Hamilton is already back at work, this time to help put the finishing touches on AMG's upcoming One hypercar.
Hamilton, who set a new record of 95 wins and equalled Michael Schumacher's tally of seven world championships in 2020, is now ready to start testing the latest prototypes for the One hypercar due to start deliveries in 2021.
Previously, Hamilton helped with development of the internal-combustion component of the One's powertrain. It's a 1.6-liter turbocharged V-6 lifted straight out of his Mercedes F1 race car, the championship-winning car from the 2015 season to be specific. The sound it will make will be insane.
"I can still hardly believe that there will soon be a hypercar with a Formula One engine,” Hamilton said in a statement. “We won the world championship with this engine in 2015, and I was involved in its development for a long time.”
The One actually features a more sophisticated powertrain than the race car. While in the race car there's only the turbocharged V-6 and a motor-generator driving the rear wheels, plus a second motor-generator integrated with the turbocharger, the One will have two additional motor-generators, one driving each of the front wheels. The particular setup means the One has all-wheel drive. Its battery is also big enough to enable an electric-only range.
Not only the drive system, but also the pushrod suspension and sophisticated aerodynamics have also been developed using F1 know-how. The characteristic features range from the flat front section with large intakes to the central fin and muscular rear with its active aero-elements.
Mercedes-Benz AMG One prototype
Hamilton helped unveil a concept of the One at the 2017 Frankfurt International Motor Show. The production version was originally due in 2019 but getting its engine to perform like a road car's engine proved more difficult than the team had expected. One of the biggest issues was getting the V-6 to start and idle like a regular car, i.e. without a team of F1 engineers on hand. AMG has also confirmed that the One's engine won't rev to 11,000 rpm like the F1 version, due to a lack of high-octane racing fuel at gas stations but also to boost the engine's longevity.
The wait for the future 275 owners will be worth it given the claimed performance of the One. We're talking over 1,000 horsepower, 0-60 mph acceleration in well under 3.0 seconds, 0-124 mph acceleration in under 6.0 seconds, and a top speed of around 217 mph. A production-car record lap of the Nürburgring is also a given, considering AMG already holds the current record of 6:43.61 with its GT Black Series sports car.
Interestingly, Hamilton has previously expressed an interest in developing his own specification, a potential “LH” special edition. He revealed early in 2019 that he'd want his car to offer a bit more power and noise than the standard car, along with some personalization options inside.