The hybrid AMG ONE, Mercedes’ “hypercar with Formula 1 technology,” has set a new production car record at the Nürburgring, obliterating the previous best time by almost 10 seconds.
The 6m 35.183s run around the 20.8 km ‘Green Hell was completed by DTM driver, and AMG ambassador, Maro Engel, and thus takes the lap record for production cars away from a Manthey Racing-prepared Porsche 911 GT2 RS by a full 8.2s. Ironically, in June 2021, the Porsche, then driven by Lars Kern, had itself pipped the previously record, also set by Engel in November 2020 in a Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series.
Engel’s record-breaking run was completed in one of two ONE hypercars shipped to the Nürburgring, both of which, Mercedes confirmed, were kitted in the same “series production” guise to which they will be supplied to their respective 275 customers. The run itself, meanwhile, impressively done in “still damp and partly dirty [conditions] in some areas,” was completed in ‘Race Plus’ driving mode. This defaults to a taughter chassis tune, full power from the drivetrain, and a lower ride height, specifically 37mm at the front and 30mm at the rear.
The Drag Reduction System is also activated, which, at the push of a button, retracts the front louvres on the wings and the upper element of the rear spoiler to maximize airflow over the bodywork. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R MO tyres, fitted as standard, were also used.
No changes were made to the hybrid powertrain either, which mates a 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 – lifted from Mercedes’ works F1 team – with four electric motors (one in the turbocharger, one incorporated with the engine itself, and two powering the front wheels) to produce an astounding total output of 1,063 hp at up to 11,000 rpm.
Notably, the need to preserve charge from the “high-performance” 8.4 kWh battery across the full 20 kilometres meant the ONE was unable to hit its full 350 km/h top speed down the Nürburgring’s fearsome, 2-km-plus-long Döttinger Höhe. Deft use of regenerative braking, though, meant Engel was still able to hit a dizzying 338 km/h.
“That was really an unforgettable experience,” Maro Engel explains. “I didn’t expect that we would be able to set such a lap time with these track conditions. In some crucial areas of the track, it hadn’t dried completely yet and was therefore tricky. That was a special challenge.
“We tried to find the optimal deployment strategy during the pre-tests. Like [seven-time F1 World Champion] Lewis Hamilton and [2022 Brazilian Grand Prix winner] George Russell on their race weekends, I also had to deploy the electrical energy of the hybrid drive in the best possible way. That’s not easy, especially with this length of track. In addition, the DRS function had to be used optimally. But that’s also a real Formula 1 feeling. I would like to thank [Mercedes] for this opportunity and the trust [they’ve] placed in me. It was definitely something very special to drive this incredible car on the ‘Ring.”
To put the ONE’s run into context, the 6m 35s lap is only 24 seconds slower than the 6m 11.13s Stefan Bellof posted aboard a Group C-spec Porsche 956 during qualifying for the 1983 1000 km of Nürburgring, an outright lap record that stood for 35 years. Bellof’s “unbeatable” record was eventually shattered in June 2018 when two-time World Endurance Champion Timo Bernhard completed the 20 km lap in a barely comprehensible 5m 19.546s aboard a Porsche 919 Hybrid EVO.