Maro Engel beats previous record for road-legal production cars by a remarkable eight seconds despite less-than-ideal track conditions
The Mercedes-AMG ONE (fuel consumption weighted, combined: 8.7 l/100 km; CO2‑emissions weighted, combined: 198 g/km; electricity consumption weighted, combined: 32 kWh/100 km) is the king of the Nürburgring-Nordschleife: with an officially measured and notarised time of 6:35.183 minutes for rounding the 20.832 kilometre track, the hypercar with Formula-1™ technology set a new record for road-legal production vehicles as well as in the super sports car category.
The record-breaking drives on October 28, 2022 were hard to beat in terms of excitement: at exactly 17:14:31, racing driver and AMG brand ambassador Maro Engel took to the track for the last attempt of the day and burned the new, fabulous time into the legendary and demanding Eifel asphalt. This was truly not a minute too early, because the track would have been officially closed at 17:15. Although Maro Engel had already set a new best time beforehand, the DTM driver was not yet satisfied. Towards the end of his track slot, the conditions were getting better by the minute. Thus, Maro Engel took advantage of the very last opportunity and improved the lap time to the new official record of 6:35.183 minutes. Based on the track variant known from the sport auto Super Test, the lap time is 6:30.705 minutes.
“That was really an unforgettable experience,” said Maro Engel after completing the record lap. “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 Lewis Hamilton and 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 you for this opportunity and the trust you’ve placed in me. It was definitely something very special to drive this incredible car on the Ring.”
“I’m proud of the whole AMG team – everyone who was involved in this project. The various departments in Affalterbach as well as our colleagues at HPP in Brixworth never gave up and continued to push the dream of this vehicle. This success is the well-deserved reward for their hard work. Even though the AMG ONE is certainly more at home on a Grand Prix circuit than on the Nordschleife – as is so often the case with this project – we’ve simply gone one step further. We’re the first ever to have taken on the challenges of the Nürburgring with a super sports car. That’s also what makes this project so unique and I’m very happy about this fantastic lap time,” said Philipp Schiemer, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes‑AMG GmbH.
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.
Record vehicle in series-production condition
Technically, the record-breaking vehicle had everything that the Mercedes-AMG ONE offers as standard – the hypercar brings Formula 1™ hybrid-drive technology from the racetrack to the road for the first time. With one combustion engine and four electric motors, the E PERFORMANCE hybrid delivers a total of 782 kW (1,063 hp), with the top speed capped at 352 km/h. The other motorsport technology ranges from the carbon monocoque and carbon body to the engine/transmission unit as a stressed member and active aerodynamics to the push-rod chassis. With its complex technology, the two-seater Mercedes-AMG ONE offers even more than a Formula 1™ racing car in some cases. It features the fully variable AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all‑wheel drive with a hybrid-driven rear axle and electrically driven front axle with torque vectoring.
For the record drive, the maximum camber values within the delivery tolerance were selected. Maro Engel chose the “Race Plus” driving programme. This means active, maximum possible aerodynamics, tight chassis tuning, vehicle lowering by 37 mm at the front axle and 30 mm at the rear axle and, of course, full power from all motors. The Drag Reduction System (DRS) is activated by the driver by pressing a button on the steering wheel. This retracts the front louvres on the wings as well as the upper aero element of the two-stage rear wing. If the system detects deceleration or a certain degree of lateral acceleration, the aero elements extend again in a flash.
Intelligent driving for optimal energy management
The record lap in the hybrid super sports car with Formula 1™ technology required not only driving skills, but also an intelligent driving style: Maro Engel used special energy management for the lap of the 20.8 km Nordschleife. This means that he could not accelerate to the maximum possible speed on all sections of the track, but also had to manage his energy. To do this, he used the four-stage Energy Flow Control (EFC) of the AMG ONE and let off the gas a little earlier in some sections, known as “lift and coast” in technical jargon. In addition, Maro also used energy recovery in the braking phases. Thus, even on the long Döttinger Höhe, the high-performance battery still offered enough power for a 338 km/h top speed.
AMG ONE customers can also take advantage of all these variation options. This also applies to the MICHELIN Pilot Sport Cup 2 R MO tyres, which are fitted as standard and were specially developed for the ONE in collaboration with development partner Michelin. The standard AMG ceramic high-performance composite braking system ensures the highest possible deceleration and stability.
First car manufacturer with a hypercar on the Ring
Mercedes-AMG is the first car manufacturer to have ventured onto the Nürburgring Nordschleife with such a hypercar and set official records there. The Mercedes-AMG ONE is therefore not only the absolute fastest road-legal vehicle on the Nordschleife, but also number 1 in the Nürburgring “super sports car” category.
The fast lap times were precisely measured by the neutral experts of “wige SOLUTIONS”. An independent notary also certified the proper condition of the vehicle and the measurements with an 11-page certificate. The spectacular drive can be witnessed via a video here.
About the Mercedes-AMG ONE
The E PERFORMANCE hybrid drive of the Mercedes-AMG ONE comes directly from Formula 1 and has been realised in close cooperation with the experts at Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth. It consists of a highly integrated and intelligently networked unit comprising one hybrid, turbocharged combustion engine with a total of four electric motors. One has been integrated into the turbocharger, another has been installed directly on the combustion engine with a link to the crankcase and the two remaining motors drive the front wheels.
The 1.6-litre V6 hybrid petrol engine with electrically assisted single-turbocharging corresponds in its technology to the current Formula 1 power unit. The four overhead camshafts are driven by spur gears. To achieve high engine speeds, the mechanical valve springs have been replaced by pneumatic valve springs. The engine, mounted in mid-engine position in front of the rear axle, revs up to 11,000 rpm. However, for longer durability and the use of commercial super plus petrol, it deliberately stays below the F1 rev limit.
The high-revving power unit is boosted by a high-tech turbocharger. The exhaust gas turbine and compressor turbine are positioned at a distance from each other and connected by a shaft. This allows a lower installation position for the turbocharger. On the shaft is an approx. 90 kW electric motor. Electronically controlled, this drives the turbocharger shaft directly, accelerating the compressor wheel up to 100,000 rpm before the exhaust gas flow takes over. The Formula 1 designation for this unit is MGU-H (Motor Generator Unit Heat).
Lightning-quick response, faster than a naturally aspirated V8 engine
The major advantage: the response improves significantly, immediately from idle speed (when the exhaust flow is still weak) across the entire rev range. The 1.6-litre V6 engine responds even more spontaneously to accelerator pedal commands, while the overall driving experience is highly dynamic. In addition, the electrification of the exhaust gas turbocharger enables higher torque at low engine speeds. This also increases agility and optimises acceleration. Even when the driver takes their foot off the accelerator or brakes, the technology is able to maintain boost pressure at all times. This ensures a continuously direct response.
The electric exhaust gas turbocharger in the Mercedes-AMG ONE has yet another advantage: it uses part of the surplus energy from the exhaust gas flow to generate electrical energy as a generator. This is either stored in the high-voltage lithium-ion battery or fed to the electric front axle or the electric motor (MGU-K = Motor Generator Unit Kinetic) on the combustion engine. The MGU-K has an output of 120 kW, is positioned directly on the combustion engine and is connected to the crankshaft via a spur gear system – another technology that ensures maximum efficiency and performance in Formula 1.
Turbocharging and direct injection with spray-guided combustion not only enable high power output, but also increase thermodynamic efficiency, thus reducing fuel consumption and exhaust emissions. The high‑performance six-cylinder engine has two injection systems. Direct injection delivers the fuel into the combustion chambers at up to 270 bar pressure. This is a multiple process at times, and is controlled by the engine management system as required. The additional port injection is needed to achieve the high specific power of the engine and at the same time comply with the exhaust emission limits.
Added to this is the very complex and effective exhaust gas cleaning system with four preheated metal catalytic converters, two ceramic catalytic converters and two petrol particulate filters. The four heating elements with a combined output of 16 kW make it possible to comply with the EU6 exhaust emission limits under real driving conditions (RDE). The exhaust gas cleaning system is also backpressure-optimised to avoid power losses. This also applies to the large rear silencer made of lightweight titanium.
New all-wheel drive with purely electrically driven front axle
The two 120 kW electric motors on the front axle reach rotor speeds of up to 50,000 rpm. They are each connected to the front wheels via a reduction gear. The front axle, which is thus driven purely electrically, operates wheel-selectively in each case and thus enables individual torque distribution for particularly high driving dynamics (“torque vectoring”). In addition, the two electric motors also allow the braking energy to be optimally used for recuperation – up to 80 percent under everyday driving conditions. This energy is stored in the battery and is available for a longer electric range or for more drive performance. Each electric motor is controlled by its own power electronics located in close proximity to the electric motors in the floor assembly.
High Performance Battery with Formula 1 technology
The lithium-ion energy storage system is also a special Mercedes-AMG development. Its technology has already proven itself in the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team’s Formula 1 hybrid racing cars under the toughest conditions and can also be found in the battery of the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E PERFORMANCE. The AMG High Performance Battery combines high power that can be called up frequently in succession with low weight to increase overall performance. Added to this are the fast energy draw and the high power density. This means that during a brisk drive in hilly terrain, for example, drivers can immediately call on the full power potential on uphill stretches, while recuperation is strong when driving downhill.
The arrangement of the battery cells and the cell cooling mirror the Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 racing car. For everyday use, however, their number is many times greater in the Mercedes-AMG ONE. The capacity of 8.4 kWh is sufficient for a purely electric range of 18.1 kilometres. Charging is via alternating current and the integrated 3.7 kW on-board charger. In addition, the battery can be supplied with fresh energy via recuperation or from the combustion engine. The lithium-ion, high-voltage battery and the DC/DC converter supporting and charging the 12 V onboard electrical system are accommodated in space-saving configuration in the vehicle floor behind the front axle.
Innovative direct cooling of the high-voltage battery
The basis for the high performance of the battery is the innovative direct cooling: A high-tech coolant flows around all the cells and cools them individually. Background: Every battery needs a defined temperature for optimum power delivery. If the battery becomes too cold or too hot, it noticeably loses power at times, or has to be regulated to avoid damage if the heat becomes excessive. The even temperature of the battery therefore has a decisive influence on its performance, service life and safety.
The coolant circulates from top to bottom through the entire battery past each cell with the help of a high‑performance electric pump and also flows through a heat exchanger attached directly to the battery. The system is designed to ensure even heat distribution in the battery. The result is that the battery is always in a consistent, optimal operating temperature window of 45 degrees Celsius on average – no matter how often it is charged or discharged. It may well be that the average temperature is exceeded when driving at high speeds. The protection mechanisms are therefore configured so that the maximum performance can be obtained from the battery, with the temperature level subsequently lowered by direct cooling.
Only direct cooling makes it possible to use cells with very high power density. Thanks to this individual solution, the battery system is particularly light and compact. The low weight is also due to the material‑saving busbar concept, and the lightweight yet strong crash structure of the aluminium housing. It ensures the highest level of safety. Another feature is the high voltage of the drive system, which operates at 800 volts instead of the usual 400 volts. Thanks to the higher voltage levels it is possible to significantly reducing the cable diameters, for example, thereby saving design space and weight.
Intelligent operating strategies for optimum output and efficiency
All in all, the High Performance Plug-in Hybrid Drive System offers numerous intelligent operating strategies that are optimally adapted to different application scenarios. The drive programs range from purely electric operation to a highly dynamic mode (Strat 2), which corresponds to a setting used in Formula 1 qualifying for the best possible lap times. Despite the high system complexity, the driver will always receive the optimal combination of performance and efficiency – depending on the current requirement.
The figures for fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are provisional and were determined internally in accordance with the “WLTP test procedure” certification method. Confirmed values from the technical service or an EC type approval or certificate of conformity with official values are not yet available. Differences between the stated figures and the official figures are possible.