There were rumors that Mercedes might be making a competitor to the McLaren 650s and Ferrari 488 GTB. The rumors currently prove very little, and it’s unclear if the car that is made could be a mid-engine hybrid supercar, following Mercedes’ F1 car after its dominant form since the 2014 season.
How is Mercedes going to whittle down the cost of the car to match the Ferrari 488?
With speculation, the average amount of an F1 car in materials is thought to be around $9 million. The cost of R&D is not included, which for teams like Ferrari, McLaren, and Mercedes is believed to rack up multiple hundreds of millions of dollars. The PU106 C hybrid is Mercedes’ engine and is the fastest on the grid and believed to cost about $14 million to develop. Should Mercedes puts this into a road car, the engineers need to figure out some cost-savings measures.
Taken that F1 engines are made of exotic materials, this shouldn’t be too difficult. But this is not the case. The crankcase and block, pistons and valves and crank and camshafts must be made of iron-based alloys and aluminum, corresponding with the 2016 F1 regulations. That only leaves the R&D to minimize, but that’s not so simple.
The PU106 C hybrid engine is reliable, but it’s a different kind of reliability. An F1 engine generally needs to be reliable for at not less than two hours per race weekend. On the other hand, a road version needs to be reliable for multiple years. Of course, on the road, it won’t be taken to redline all the time.
If the engineers go with the PU106 C design, they need to figure out how to re-manufacture it to make it a road-going version. The engine’s design is designed to be both, compact and efficient, but as a hybrid turbo system, it offers a lot of promise.
If this car is made, it’s going to be interesting to see how Mercedes, will keep it affordable to the Ferrari 488 GTB, McLaren 650s crowd. It will usher in a brand-new era of hypercar technology, even if it does take about ten years for F1 technology to trickle down into road cars.