After some months of further development, it’s with much pleasure and more than a little relief (seriously, 200+ fixtures on a car body will make just about any PC chug…) that I’m able to show you the Stage II development of Mercury.
As you may know, Mercury debuted at the Automation Geneva Car Expo. It was designed to shock and awe on every level, from the aggressive neo-retro Lambo-esque styling, to the unprecedented 2:1 hp:kg ratio. It was a true fire-breathing road rocket with no safety whatsoever, and certainly not road legal, but the prototype did feature as an exhibit in some events, including the Pikes Peak Automation Hillclimb, where, well, it was very fast in a straight line (a quarter mile of under 8 seconds!), but rather more difficult to handle in the corners.
The aim for this car was always to turn it into a road legal, streetable ultra-mega-hyper car, and the new halo car from Gryphon Gear. For this to happen, we did have to pay a little attention to issues of accessibility as well as safety to at least meet the minimum contemporary standards of the market, but do so in such a way that it did not compromise our vision. Thus, the power:weight ratio was replaced by a number of less abstract goals: a top speed of 500km/h, and lapping the Green Hell in under 7 minutes. That was always part of the plan for Gryphon Gear: to bridge the gap in the different worlds of performance, the track-oriented cars like the P1, 918, LaFerrari, Zonda, etc. and the straight line rockets like the Hennessey Venom, SSC Tuatara and so forth. Not to say that the latter cars are slow around the track by any measure, but relatively speaking, it is doubtful they would match the kind of times a hypercar would achieve, just like it is well known that any of the hypercars from the first group would not even blip 400km/h unmodified, nor were they intended to. The segment of cars that could break the apparent barrier between both worlds is vanishingly small, and possibly only notably occupied by technological trailblazers, Koeniggsegg, but, well, we don’t really have any official data on that.
However, we’ve got data on this (fictional) car!
The block is based very much on the original Caduceus prototype, but instead of running a maximum stroke, the block has been chopped and rebalanced accordingly, so now its dimensions are 103x102, to give a displacement of 6799cc. In-house developed dual scroll turbos with dimensions 84.8/73.5, running unrestricted boost (tops out at 2.44 bar) make for a somewhat uncomfortable looking torque tsunami maxing out at 2208Nm @ 6600rpm. UItimately, 2259hp for a shave under 1290kg makes for a power: weight ratio of over 1751hp:ton. With turbo kicking in at around 4700rpm up to a redline of 8400rpm, cruising around town is still a relatively gluttinous affair, with a mixed fuel consumption of over 20L/100km, but that’s hardly surprising. It probably consumes far more than that when properly given the boot, provided you have the stones to do so, and the skill not to promptly steer it into the nearest barrier. What we found most surprising was that we’ve been able to adapt the same transmission parts that we used for Mephisto, for use in Mercury, due to their almost identical wheelbase and characteristics, down to similarities in torque loads. As usual, we’ve stuck to a six speed gearbox, as this provided the best mix between economy and performance.
You’ll also notice that despite an even more ballistic turbo setup, the comfort rating is rather a fair bit higher than our previous models. That’s because as the newest halo car and our first, I suppose, proper attempt to inject our vision into the larger super(er)car market, we’ve actually gone into the trouble to give this car a proper sporting interior, as opposed to the original Mephisto and Nightfury, which were pretty much stripped and ready to race, and not like anything you’d ever think to drive on the street. Sketches of the cabin will be revealed at a later stage, but suffice to say, given the sheer amount of acceleration the car is capable of in every direction, occupants will be firmly seated, firmly strapped in and the driver’s view will be a bit more akin to that of a pilot than that of a driver. It also has proper air-conditioning for a change! However, if you think we’d put in a radio or sat-nav, you’re sorely mistaken. The only button pressing entertainment you’ll have in this car is tweaking your driving aids profile. More on this later.
As a side note, safety, too, is hugely improved, and just might actually meet proper NCAP standards now. Additionally you’ll be able to take it to track days, but it’ll need a few extras if you want it to be formally race ready. There’s no need for us to add those things ourselves, because the kind of person who drives this car professionally is likely to have their own team and equipment suppliers.
This model is dubbed Mercury 500 because yes, it has a top speed of precisely 500km/h. Forget 290mph, that’s nigh 311mph right there.
You may have noticed the unusually narrow front tyres. This is due to an extremely light front end. On that note, we’ve emulated the aerodynamic principles of the Deltawing and used some witchcraft to create a minimal drag, zero lift system with active flaps to significantly improve cornering performance. But almost none of that is visible from the outside, with the exception of the bumper canards (with accompanying vortex generator), naturally to create a turbulent air barrier over the side of the car.
The air is then streamlined into a more planar flow before most of it is stripped into the side vents, facilitating the engine’s monstrous cooling requirements. You may also note that the Mercury is designed to be as flat as possible, resulting in an incredibly low seating position. Unladen and with tyres at optimal pressures, the car is barely 1080mm tall!
Additionally, the pop-up headlamps have been retained but refined further. Their operation is generally elective, but potentially helpful in the darkest of conditions, and they actually swivel on a longitudinal axis, resulting in relatively unobtrusive lights that do not contribute significantly to drag.
Little of the rear has been changed, except to refine the lines slightly. Otherwise, I was already happy with the overall principle of it, the aggression, the stance, the obscenely large exhaust port (which is a necessity, given that this car still requires dual 6" exhaust!) We still do NOT recommend standing directly behind the car when it starts up or revs.
Thanks to its shape, intentionally or otherwise, this car truly embraces the impracticality and wretched all-round visibility of the supercars of old. And no, like hell we’d weigh it down with cameras. You’ll just have to rely on skill to navigate your way around. And you may have room for one passenger, but the interior of the entire front end is actually purely aerodynamic venting. But then again, it should have been painfully obvious that this was not the car you were ever going to put your golf clubs in. This is a real GG car, unparalleled performance crammed into the madness of the 90s.
Putting our money where our mouth is, here is the proof. The kicker is, we’re only using electric LSD, active sway bars, cooling flaps and active wing. The springs themselves are progressive springs, which might strike one as an unusual choice given this is supposed to be an extreme performance car, but given our setup, there’s extremely little tolerance between riding smoothly over the smaller bumps and a crashy, unsettled ride. Likewise, the dampers are gas monotube. We’ve eschewed the “active suspension” choices to switch between driving modes, partially because of weight, partially because we stubbornly refuse to cater to a client base that wants cars for all worlds. Sorry people, you’ll have to love it as it is, or leave it.
If somebody had told me that a car with almost no downforce could lap the Green Hell in under 7 minutes, I would have scoffed, but after the integration of active aero (the main trick here), it just goes to show a little ingenuity goes a long way. Though yes, we do admit, the tyres on this car are still a fair bit more expensive than the road going compounds on many of our rival cars, but then again, we made a decision to use our own tyre supplier quite early on, because getting this much power down allows for very little compromise. Actually, if you drove this car anywhere near the way it was intended, you’d have to be prepared to drop at least six figures on the tyre and engine maintenance annually…
This being said, as usual we beg you, please, please do not purchase this car to cruise it around town and perform overblown and ultimately futile mating rituals. Sure, it’s going to be ultra rare, and it’s going to be ultra expensive, there’s no really helping that. And yes, probably the majority of our prospective customers are overly wealthy kids from China/the Arab Emirates who inherited more money than they could imagine and will probably crash this car. On that note, that’s why we actually vet our customers based on driving skill and suitability: with that little drivability and that much HOLY SHIIIIIIIIIT, even after all the ABS, TC, ESC and launch control, there’s also no point getting this car if there’s not at least a reasonable chance you won’t wreck it and earn yourself an early one way ticket to the afterlife. Unless of course, you’ve already written a will that donates all of your obscene wealth to an effective charity, in which case, we won’t necessarily stop you.
But really, we don’t want this car to be crashed at all. We do want it to be driven hard and driven fast. And we’d be flattered if it scared you half to death, but not actually caused the death of you.
6799cc Quad Cam DI 40v Bi-Turbo V8
2259hp @ 8100rpm
2208Nm @ 6600rpm
6 spd double clutch sequential (flappy paddles)
Seats: 2, racing CF with custom molded inserts
Body/frame: Carbon fiber monocoque chassis and skin
Steering: 2WS variable electronic assist
Tires: GG-supplied semi-slicks 245/30R20, 385/20R20
Suspension: Double wishbone, front and rear. Progressive springs. Gas monotube dampers. Active sway bar.
Brakes: Carbon Ceramic 6 pots. Front 7", Rear 10"
Ride height: 181mm
Curb Weight: 1289.8kg
Weight Distribution: 24.4F/75.6R
Driving aids: ABS, TCS, DSC, Launch control
5 point harness
Rollcage built into frame
Qtr Mile: 8.16s @ 323km/h
Full mile: 18.5s
Top speed: 500.0km/h
[ul]]Fully customisable driving aid profile with quick configure and advanced configure streams to determine slip, weight transfer characteristics and throttle mapping/:m]
]Manettino dial racing style CF wheel with adjustable steering lock and characteristics/:m]
](Proper) air conditioning/:m]
]Revolving pop up headlights/:m]
]LED fog lights/:m][/ul]
[ul]]24/7 on-call service and logistics team for international maintenance requirements/:m]
]Both L and R hand drive available/:m][/ul]
MRSP: Approximately 3.25M AUD