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Paris show: Mercedes-AMG considers Engel for ’Ring run
AMG looks to German race driver for Nurburgring blast in F1-derived AMG One
3 Oct 2018
By RON HAMMERTON in PARIS
A WORKS Mercedes-AMG race driver who had a one-year stint in Australia’s V8 Supercars might be given the honour of having a crack at the Nurburgring track record with the blistering Formula One-inspired AMG One hybrid hypercar ahead of its launch next year.
Maro Engel, the German driver who piloted a Mercedes-AMG E63 racer for Erebus Motorsport for a season in Australia in 2013 and most recently has competed in GT3 and Formula E series racing, was this week named by Mercedes-AMG chairman Tobias Moers as a possible contender for the attempt because of his intimate knowledge of the ‘green hell’ track in Germany.
Mr Moers told GoAuto at the Paris motor show that AMG was committed to an attempt on the Nurburgring lap record for a series production car, but not until next year.
Asked if Mercedes F1 champion Lewis Hamilton might be the driver to make the run, Mr Moers said Hamilton would be too busy in 2019.
“For Nurburgring, you really need someone who knows the track,” he said. “In GT3, Maro Engel, for example, is someone who knows the track perfectly.”
Although Munich-born Engel finished last in his sole season in V8 Supercars in Erebus’ first Supercars season, his record in sportscars, German DTM tourers and electric Formula E has been more impressive, having won the 2013 GT world championship and the 2016 Nurburgring 24 Hour.
If AMG is to take the record, the hybrid One would need to lap the 20.6km Nurburgring Nordschleife loop in under 6:44.97 minutes – the current benchmark set by a Lamborghini Aventador driven by Marco Mapelli in July this year.
Mercedes-AMG is planning to build a limited run of 275 AMG Ones, starting towards the end of next year.
The AMG One will bristle with F1 technology that includes the 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 modified for street use and paired with twin electric motors on the front wheels and another attached to the engine to form a hybrid powertrain with “at least” 800kW.
The left-hand-drive-only car, which is now being track tested in the UK, is expected to crack 200km/h in less than six seconds.
The entire production run is pre-sold at €2.27 million ($A3.65m) a pop, with seven allocated to Australia and one to New Zealand.
A meeting of the expectant customers is scheduled to be held in Melbourne in November so they can be briefed on the latest developments with their new cars that are being developed in the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, Mr Moers has revealed that AMG is working on another car that should shake up the Nurburgring – a Black Series version of AMG’s GT R.
Mr Moers has not disclosed the power of the beast, but says it should beat 7:20 for the Nordschleife lap.
This would put it in the company of the Ferrari 488 GTB and Porsche 911 GT3.
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