Packing a 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 that screams to 11,000 rpm and a litany of electric motors, it’s a given that AMG’s F1-inspired hypercar is astonishingly quick. Indeed, on Oct. 28, the Mercedes-AMG One set a production car Nürburgring Nordschleife lap record of 6:35.183. That’s an average speed of 117.9 mph (189.8 km/h), yet somehow the speed isn’t the craziest part of the lap.
The really crazy part is that the track conditions sucked. Not only was the tarmac damp in many spots, there was dirt on the track in spots like Kesselchen, and Mercedes-AMG claims in a press release that the session was shortened due to weather delays. Apparently, by the time the track had somewhat dried out, Mercedes-AMG only had time for four fast laps. These aren’t the ideal conditions you’d want to set a lap record in, yet here we are.
From Mercedes’ press release:
At first, it didn’t look like a new record. The weather was sunny with a light wind, but the track was – typical of the Nürburgring in autumn – still damp and partly dirty in some areas. In some sections, such as the fast “Kesselchen” section, the ideal line had not yet completely dried. All in all, they were not ideal conditions – especially for a vehicle in this extreme performance class. By the time the track was passable for a first fast lap, the remaining time had whittled down to less than an hour. With air and asphalt temperatures of just under 20 degrees Celsius, this was only enough for a maximum of four fast laps.
Mercedes-AMG brought two ONEs to the Ring, which meant that the limited time could be used effectively. According to the specifications of Nürburgring 1927 GmbH & Co. KG, both vehicles were inspected and documented by TÜV Rheinland to ensure that they were in series production. A notary confirmed the proper condition of the vehicles and the correct execution of the record runs.
For context, the next-quickest street-legal production car around the Nordschleife is the 991.2 Porsche 911 GT2 RS with the factory-approved Manthey Racing package. It ran a 6:43.3 under much better conditions than the Mercedes-AMG One lap, and is seriously impressive for something that isn’t a hypercar. Beyond that, the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series clocked a 6:43.616, while the current Porsche 911 GT3 RS managed a 6:48.047.
To help achieve this time, Mercedes-AMG dropped the one into Race Plus mode, which drops the suspension by 30 mm up front and 37 mm out back, sets each motor to full attack mode, and alters the active aerodynamics. In addition, driver Maro Engel made good use of the One’s DRS system, which drops the upper rear wing element and retracts flaps in the fenders to cut drag.
While the record seems all well and good, I have to take a little umbrage with the press release. In giant header font, Mercedes-AMG proclaims to be the “First car manufacturer with a hypercar on the ring.” Ah. How do you define what a hypercar is? One could argue that although not road-legal, the Pagani Zonda R is a hypercar and it set a blistering 6:47.50 time back in 2010, handily the quickest track-only production car on the board at the time. [Editor’s Note: It’s possible that there’s an official definition for the Nürburgring “super sports car” category (as Mercedes calls it in the press release) that we aren’t aware of. -DT]
If we go by the fine print, the press release states that “Mercedes-AMG is the first car manufacturer to have ventured onto the Nürburgring Nordschleife with such a hypercar and set official records there.” Hmm. One could say the Porsche 918 Spyder is a hypercar that was the quickest production car around the Nordschleife in 2013 (two Radical cars were faster, but since they only met UK Single Vehicle Approval, they weren’t street legal).
It seems Mercedes may be fluffing up a lap record, which the company doesn’t need to do given the genuinely appalling conditions at the track. It’s an impressive time! (But we get it; if it’s not a record, it won’t make the news).
The big question now is how much faster can the Mercedes-AMG One go under ideal conditions? Dry track, no debris, cool air, tarmac warm enough for grip. Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if a time of 6:30 or less is achievable. Five seconds is a lot of time to shave off, but over a 12.944-mile (20.832 km) track, it may very well be possible. If achieved, expect average lap speed to be around 2 mph higher.
So, well done to Mercedes-AMG. I look forward to other hypercar marques taking up the gauntlet and laying down times of their own. Perhaps Rimac can snag the electric production car lap record, or Aston Martin can have a go in the Valkyrie. Perhaps another fresh hypercar on the ring is exactly the excuse Mercedes-AMG needs to go out again in the One and smash that 6:35.183 time.
All photos courtesy of Mercedes-AMG
Seems they got it working much better than it did on the latest Top Gear episode when Harris tested it.
Every time I see a Nürburgring fast lap it makes me miss Sabine and I have to go back and watch her scare the shit out of Hammond in that van.
I get it that a lot of this crew will be bitching about this that or the other from the video, but we should all be applauding manufacturers that are still out there trying to make something this fast. Kudos to Merc for the car, I hope we see more like it in the future. Things like this make it just a tad brighter.
Wow congrats MB your car that needs an engine rebuild every 30K miles is faster than a VW Beetle with a huge wing
James May: screams in agony
I wonder why they feel the need to point out that the driver is a professional racing driver? Who would ever think “I bet they rented Nurburgring for a day and put one of their accountants in the driver’s seat, I wonder if they would have faired better with Nicky from HR…. Noooo it’s one of them racing drivers having a go again “
The whole, “Professional driver. Closed course.” is all about preventing potential lawsuits.
First, that time is very impressive. Second, that active aero is really cool, very similar in concept to what the Tomahawk (fantasy vehicle) has in GT7 where it activates when you turn the wheel off-center or brake.
Finally, man does that thing sound terrible. 11,000rpm? Sounds like maybe 6k. This car is a technical marvel, but just imagine what they could have done if they’d just thrown in a more standard 1000hp+ engine instead of spending all of that time and money to adapt an F1 engine into a road car.
On the plus side, at least the owner won’t have to pay much displacement tax when driving through London.
Its a V6, they almost all sound terrible.
Not sure about that one chief….there are some pretty sweet sounding V6s out there. Hell, when you pair it with the active exhaust the current V6 Camaro sounds amazing, as the Orange site pointed out years ago.
The V6 in the Jaaaaaaag F Type sounds sweet too.
The Busso V6, dont forget!
If Mercedes is the 1st manufacturer to run this type of car, and they just did it recently by the algebraic properties they are the only manufacturer to run in this type a vehicle so of course they hold the record.
They used the old this is the only y/m/m with this paint colour with these options to claim a record? How mercedes of them.
“Mercedes-AMG is the first car manufacturer to have ventured onto the Nürburgring Nordschleife with such a hypercar and set official records there.”
If they say it enough then it must be true, like how they built the first automobile…
But really, it sounds like an impressive feat given how the track sounded.