Lewis Hamilton

The 1,049 HP Mercedes-AMG One Hypercar May Take on the Nürburgring Record

The 1,049 HP Mercedes-AMG One Hypercar May Take on the Nürburgring Record

The Mercedes-AMG One is a complex bit of kit. Touting a Formula 1-derived plug-in hybrid drivetrain with 1.6-liter V-6 that spins to a dizzying 11,000 rpm, the heavily scooped, spoilered, and finned hypercar has experienced serious setbacks since it first dropped cover at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2017. Daimler’s then-boss Dieter Zetsche and Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 ace Lewis Hamilton touted the car as a race car disguised as a road car, and by all accounts the consumer product is actually more mechanically ambitious than its F1 counterpart. Hence development hell through the intervening years.

There’s no shortage of interest in the sold-out road car, which went into production this year after a beleagured development process. While spy shots of the imperious hypercar have surfaced over the years, new footage points to a potential stab at setting a record at the infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife racetrack. 
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Why is this important? In a word, history. When Porsche’s uncorked 919 Evo Four set the Nürburgring record in 2018 with a gobsmacking time of 5:19.55, AMG’s then-honcho Tobias Moers calmly said his baby could go ‘round the ‘Ring even faster. “It’s not a production car and ours is,” he told Motoring.com.au. “We have to meet full homologation rules. We could do some things to the aero and take out the air conditioner and fit some slightly different tires and then I’d be confident about it. But we’re not going to do that.” 

Moers is the legendary speed whisperer who left AMG to lead Aston Martin, only to depart the Gaydon-based carmaker last May. With no telling what internal discussions are being had at Mercedes-AMG, one universal truth remains: Despite the temptation to take the high road and not engage in a war of numbers, there’s a certain cachet to claiming the top spot at an esteemed circuit.

First deliveries of the Mercedes-AMG One are anticipated to be right around the corner, so don’t be surprised if the 1,049 horsepower hypercar validates its rumored $2.7 million price tag with a record-breaking run at the ‘Ring. 

Always Wanted to Drive a Formula 1 Car? Here Are 4 Places Where You Can

Always Wanted to Drive a Formula 1 Car? Here Are 4 Places Where You Can

With Formula 1’s 73rd season just off the starting line, motorsport’s premier race series is in the midst of a turbocharged popularity surge thanks to last year’s riveting battle between seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton and heir apparent Max Verstappen—not to mention the Netflix documentary series Formula 1: Drive to Survive, with its focus on the real-life drama both inside and outside the cars.

But for the ultimate thrill, try a turn behind the wheel of an actual pedigreed F1 racer. Even decades-old competition chassis remain among the most high-tech, demanding and rare vehicles on the planet, and with the ability to pilot them around some of the world’s most famous circuits, you can consider the rest of your automotive bucket list obsolete.

1. Bovingdon Airfield

Hertfordshire, England
Instead of an F1 circuit, TrackDays will have you flying around England’s Bovingdon Airfield in the same Jordan EJ12 that Takuma Sato piloted through his rookie season in 2002. Before drivers take on the ex-Sato sled and its nearly 600 hp, 10,500 rpm V-10, the five-hour curriculum (starting at approximately $1,300) includes a preparatory 14 laps of skill-honing drills in a sports car, plus another 20 laps in an open-wheel F1000. For the finale, 10 laps in the Jordan await, though up to 20 more can be added for a supplemental charge.
Race Car: Jordan EJ12
Engine: 3.0-liter naturally aspirated Judd V-8
Power: 600 hp
2. Circuit Paul Ricard

Le Castellet, France
Founded and run by former F1 test driver and Formula 3 champion Laurent Redon, LRS Formula offers three levels of action. The Bronze experience includes a 650 hp Benetton B198 from 1998 or a 2001-season Prost AP04, while the Silver option introduces the 750 hp Jaguar R3, circa 2002. But it’s the Gold selection, priced from around $6,500, that unleashes the real fury: a 2011 Williams FW33 producing 750 hp at 18,000 rpm. (That’s down from the KERS-enhanced 830 hp on hand when Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado were in the cockpit, but don’t flatter yourself that you’ll miss it.) Drive days take place at acclaimed circuits in France, Spain and Portugal, and begin with stints in 200 hp Formula Renault 2.0 cars, the type Kimi Räikkönen raced prior to finding F1 glory.

Race Car: Williams FW33
Engine: 2.4-liter naturally aspirated Cosworth V-8
Power: 750 hp
Other Circuits: Dijon-Prenois; Nevers Magny-Cours; Barcelona-Catalunya; Portimão
3. Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

Stavelot, Belgium
With 22 years in operation, Italy’s Puresport Racing School puts you behind the wheel of the A18 racer campaigned by 1996 World Drivers’ Champion Damon Hill during his 1997 season with the Arrows team. Originally fit with a 700 hp Yamaha V-10, the car is now propelled by a 3.0-liter Cosworth V-8 delivering 500 hp at 9,000 rpm. (Prior to buckling in to Hill’s former ride, drivers warm up with 10 laps in a 255 hp Formula 3 machine.) With sessions starting at $4,300, set dates are available across famed European circuits in Belgium, Germany and Italy, where participants experience the tracks in their entirety. There’s also the option of a camera car to record your personal Grand Prix performance.
Race Car: Arrows A18
Engine: 3.0-liter naturally aspirated Cosworth V-8
Power: 500 hp
Other Circuits: More than a dozen, including Hockenheimring, Imol and Monza
4. Dubai Autodrome

Dubai, UAE
Although the United Arab Emirates (UAE) currently hosts Formula 1 in its capital of Abu Dhabi, neighboring city Dubai is home to what is known as “the heart of UAE motorsport,” the Dubai Autodrome. Through the latter’s F1 experience, starting from about $2,700, drivers will familiarize themselves with the Autodrome’s 1.52-mile Club Circuit configuration in both a BMW 330i and a Radical SR3; after that, the real deal: a stint in a 550 hp version of the R1 race car used by the Jaguar team during the 2000 season. (You can also climb into an Arrows A23, also with 550 hp, from that team’s short-lived 2002 campaign.) That means a minimum of four laps around the FIA-sanctioned track, in the same type of vehicle British driver Johnny Herbert finished his career, and the exact car driven by his teammate Eddie Irvine.

Race Car: Jaguar R1
Engine: 3.0-liter naturally aspirated Judd V-8
Power: 550 hp

Lewis Hamilton and MasterClass Want to Mentor You on Winning

Lewis Hamilton and MasterClass Want to Mentor You on Winning

First things first: Judging by the data alone, it’s clear that Lewis Hamilton is one of the greatest Formula 1 drivers in history—arguably, the greatest of all time. Heading into the final race of the 2021 season, he holds the record for most F1 race wins (103), podium finishes (181) and pole positions (103).

Hamilton, currently with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas team, is also tied with Michael Schumacher for seven World Drivers’ Championships, a situation that could change by the time the checkered flag falls on the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday. He enters the final contest locked in a battle with Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen for the title—if the British racer scores one more point than his rival, he captures a record-breaking eighth crown.

Hamilton poses with his dog Roscoe after ensuring the World Drivers’ Championship title in 2020. 

Photo by PA Wire/PA Images.

In the week leading up to the grand finale, the keen minds over at online-learning site MasterClass have offered subscribers a chance to jump in the passenger seat of Hamilton’s psyche through a new virtual course, taught by Hamilton himself, on how to develop “A Winning Mindset.” In the interest of seeing if this program could help us predict how the racer would fare in the final showdown of the season, we sharpened our pencils, hunkered down and paid rapt attention.
Truth be told, we had already studied Hamilton’s approach to living a high-performance life. From the Netflix documentary The Game Changers, we learned about his transition to a vegan diet. In his sit-down with David Letterman in My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, we came to appreciate the challenge of rising through the ranks as a driver of color. Of course, we also binge-watched Formula 1: Drive to Survive to discover how the best racers in the world deal with the stresses of competing at the very highest level.

Celebrating the win at the 2021 São Paulo Grand Prix. 

Photo by Lars Baron, Pool Photo via AP.

In one way, Hamilton’s MasterClass is like a companion piece to the latter series—we learn some things about how he prepares, but he doesn’t reveal all his secrets. For example, he shares nothing about his particular driving style or how it is that he produces such speed on track. (Hamilton admits to being guarded with people; this quality seems to have spilled over into the creative choices made here.)
Contrast this to the MasterClass presented by Serena Williams and the differences are stark. In one episode, the tennis star runs through the exact mechanics of how she serves; the viewer can take this information and apply it to his or her own game with immediate effect. In this respect, the lessons imparted by Hamilton are more suited to a broader audience, not only someone who wants to improve lap times at their private racetrack club.

The restart of the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with Hamilton in front. 

Photo by AP Photo/Hassan Ammar.

Nevertheless, there are some fascinating aspects to what Hamilton has chosen to share about his career; these lessons suggest he’s an even tougher competitor than people may think. He’s been a formidable Grand Prix racer from the start—he tied a record for most wins in a rookie season. But he’s only become better over time, the result of a relentless drive to better himself.
Over the years, he has delved into mediation, explored new forms of physical training and pursued outside interests including music and fashion. All of these efforts have been in the name of fine-tuning his performance while creating a more well-rounded life at the same time.

Lewis Hamilton during Paris Fashion Week this year. 

Photo by Ik Aldama/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images.

In the class, there’s an entire lesson on failure, which is incredible when you stop to think about it. One of the most successful sportsmen of all time advocates using failure to propel yourself forward. “In my opinion, failure is 100 percent necessary for greatness,” he says. “To achieve greatness, to have that success, you’ve got to fail as many times as possible.”
Hamilton describes a time early in his career when things were not going his way. He was crashing a lot and, worse, he couldn’t keep pace with the top competitors in the series. He thought his dream of becoming a professional driver was over. And his father, who had provided support every step of the way, thought the same. Lewis was failing.

Hamilton in action during the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. 

Photo by AP Photo/Hassan Ammar.

The next morning, he went on the longest run of his life, refocused on his goal and reminded himself of what he was prepared to sacrifice to achieve it. He pulled himself back from the brink, even though admitting defeat and quitting would’ve been a more straightforward and far easier decision. Hamilton notes: “I would always say, set yourself goals that are almost impossible.”
Not so long ago, the idea of breaking the record for World Drivers’ Championships seemed highly unlikely, if not utterly impossible. In 1957, Juan Manuel Fangio set the record by winning his fifth title. This marker held fast for over 40 years—despite the best efforts of Jack Brabham, Sir Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, Nelson Piquet, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna, all of whom captured at least three titles each.

Mercedes-AMG Petronas teammates Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas at the podium after the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. 

Photo by AP Photo/Hassan Ammar.

Then along came Michael Schumacher, who won his sixth World Drivers’ Championship in 2003, followed by number seven in 2004. Hamilton is now poised to pass that. On paper, it might seem like the only thing standing in his way is Verstappen. But the biggest obstacle, the notion that eight championships was impossible, has already been cleared. This weekend, we may have to temporarily pump the breaks on Hamilton’s MasterClass and instead watch as he attempts to school the competition in Abu Dhabi.

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