The next generation of the hypercar holy trinity
We’re in the middle of one of the biggest revolutions, maybe in the history of the car industry. Technology is advancing more rapidly than ever, cars are getting faster and more efficient and slowly, but surely, fossil fuels are being phased out. While it may not seem like it to the Greenpeace committee, hypercars do sit at the forefront for upcoming technologies in cars, the last holy trinity of the Ferrari LaFerrari, Porsche 918 Spyder and the Mclaren P1 all used some form of electric or hybrid technologies to give them their bewitching speed. Yes, the LaFerrari still had a screaming V12 engine in the back, but it also used a Formula 1 derived KERS system which made it faster and (slightly) more efficient. The next generation of hypercars however, are going to take technology and aerodynamics to the next level. We’re talking about the Aston Martin Valkyrie, Mercedes-AMG Project One and Gordon Murray’s T50. All three of them are born from the idea of bringing Formula 1 technology to the road, not just in the gearbox or the way the steering wheel looks, but in the ethos of the whole car. Yet, all three of them are taking fairly different approaches.
Mercedes-AMG Project One
Of the three, the Project One is probably the closest one to a modern day Formula 1 car for the road. It takes the 1.6-litre V6 hybrid-petrol engine from the 2015 title winning Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 car, albeit with a few changes to make it suitable for things a Formula 1 car does not have to deal with, like traffic. The exact output figures are not out yet but the rear wheels will receive in excess of 670bhp, while the front wheels will get 321bhp thanks to a pair of electric motors, making the total output in excess of 1000 horses. The transmission is a Formula 1 derived semi-automatic 8-speed system named the AMG Speedshift. The performance figures shared by Mercedes are fairly vague — 0-200kmph is claimed to be under six seconds while top speed will be over 350kmph. The whole car has been designed to perform like a Formula 1 car too. On the outside, there are no unnecessary creases or line, unless they serve a functional purpose — to make the Project One faster.
Details like the shark fin at the rear and the twin element rear spoiler sure make the Project One’s bloodline clear. On the inside, the Project One’s steering wheel looks almost like it has been taken out of Lewis Hamilton’s Grand prix racer. The seating position is super low with the pedals pushed far forward to make it closer to the experience of piloting a Formula 1 car and keeping the weight low down. A total of 275 examples of the Project One will be made and they’ve all been spoken for.
Aston Martin Valkyrie
The Valkyrie is one of the most important cars in Aston Martin’s history, aside from the DBX which will help keep the company afloat amid slowing financial growth. The Valkyrie is built in collaboration with Red Bull Advanced Technologies, to help bring their Formula 1 expertise on board. The Valkyrie gets a Cosworth-developed 6.5-litre V12 engine and uses electric motors for immediate responsiveness low down in the rev range and for an additional boost of power otherwise. The Cosworth unit produces 1160bhp, 740Nm of torque and will scream to 11,100rpm! The Valkyrie also uses the racing expertise of both Aston Martin and Red Bull to create an aerodynamic masterpiece, there is not a single piece of steel in the Valkyrie’s structure and it achieves a perfect 1:1 power to weight ratio. The Valkyrie is also the closest one to production among the three, with road testing having already begun.
There will be a total of 150 cars made and they are all sold out. The Valkyrie’s interior is much like the Project One’s — stripped out and purposeful with Formula 1 influences everywhere.
Gordon Murray T50
While Gordon Murray Automotive is not a very well established brand in the hypercar business, Gordon Murray is. Gordon was one of the main engineers behind the iconic McLaren F1 and also pioneered the use of ground effects in Formula 1. The T50 is actually being built as the true successor to the F1, using motorsport and Formula 1 derived tech. However, the T50 will be an “analogue” hypercar. The T50 will also be powered by a V12 like the Valkyrie, developed by Cosworth, like the Valkyrie. However while the Valkyrie revs to 11,100rpm, the T50 will rev till 12,100rpm! The T50 will also replicate the Mclaren F1’s central driving position, flanked by a passenger seat on either side. Astonishingly, the T50 will use a standard manual H-pattern gearbox developed by Xtrac. While the other two hypercars in this list do rely on some from of electric power for an additional boost or acceleration, the T50 stays true to its analogue title here too, meaning the V12 will be allowed to sing in all its glory, uninterrupted. In terms of aerodynamics, the T50 is anything but analogue. There is a fan at the rear of the car (!) which serves to not only improve downforce by using the ground effect.
It also helps make the car more efficient and provides cooling for the components. The fan is active and can automatically adjust according to the different driving modes — high downforce, streamline, Vmax and test mode. The clever aerodynamics of the T50 will surely allow it to post some serious laptimes. The T50 is far from being production ready though, with no road ready prototype being seen, publicly at least.
All three of these hypercars intend to be Formula 1 cars for the road, with the Project One using the latest in Formula 1 technology, the Valkyrie blending modern hybrid and aerodynamic tech with old school V12 power and the T50 keeping things simple. Three different approaches with one goal, to create the ultimate road car. We cannot wait to see how these three compare on the road and on track!