The Mercedes-AMG Project One isn’t a head-turner, unless you pull a double take because it looks like a mutated fish. But that doesn’t mean it’s not effective. No, no, no, this car isn’t meant to look good. It’s meant to go fast and glue itself to the ground, which is why AMG claims it makes NASCAR levels of downforce.
With more than 1,000 horsepower and a $2.7 million price tag, Mercedes’ AMG division has been calling the Project One a street-legal Formula One car since before its name even went public. But it obviously won’t have F1’s incredible amounts of downforce—its aerodynamics will instead hover at current NASCAR levels at just under 700 kilograms, or 1,500 pounds, according to Autocar:
AMG boss Tobias 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 downforce, which would fall short of the Senna’s 800kg claim but appears impressive given the Project One’s sleeker shape and less prominent active rear spoiler.
It’s not clear at what speed this figure is developed: in the Senna, it comes at 155mph. Like the Senna and the Ford GT, the Project One’s driver will be able to lower the car for track driving, increasing the amount of downforce generated under it. ...
Since AMG didn’t specify what speeds this downforce figure is coming from, it’s likely that the car’s max downforce is around that 675-kilogram mark. While it doesn’t reach the reported levels of the new McLaren Senna, that’s still a huge amount of aerodynamic force on a car with a front grille that looks, even at a standstill, like it’s sucking a whole bunch of wind into its cartoonish fish mouth.
Here’s how the Project One’s downforce stacks up to other street cars and race cars at their optimal downforce speeds, for the sake of comparison:
- The 2018 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 with optional giant rear wing: 950 pounds
- The Mercedes-AMG Project One: 1,488 pounds (estimated)
- The 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race car: 1,500 pounds
- The 2016 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race car: 2,000 pounds
- The 2016 IndyCar race car: 7,000 pounds at 200 mph
So, yeah, the Project One is fast! Perhaps AMG made it that way so it could run away from its own reflection.