After a wait of more than four years, the nearest thing to a road-going formula car has finally arrived in Asia. Built in Liverpool, England, the BAC (Briggs Automotive Company) Mono is constructed from carbon-fibre and steel, and has a rear-mounted, 280bhp engine, a six-speed Formula 3-specification gearbox and pushrod suspension – just like a proper racing car.
The 2.3-litre, four-cylinder engine that sits right behind the driver endows the Mono with unbelievable performance. Based on a Ford Duratec unit but comprehensively re-engineered and rebuilt by famed UK racing-engine specialist Cosworth, it powers the car to a maximum speed in the region of 275km/h. As the Mono tips the scales at just 540kg, that means a power-to-weight ratio better than a Bugatti Veyron’s and blinding 0-100km/h acceleration in around three seconds.
Its lines blend flat surfaces and elegant curves, creating a look that’s as futuristic as a stealth fighter. The driver – there’s no room for passengers – sits amidships in a seat specially designed around him or her, and climbs in or out as with a grand prix racer. And as on a Formula 1 machine, the Mono’s digital display and switchgear are all located on the rectangular steering wheel, which is removable to facilitate entrance and egress.
Whether the BAC Mono is legal on Asian roads will depend on regulations in each country. It’s fitted with mudguards, which are beautifully integrated into the aerodynamics, and lights, so it already conforms to European and American legislation. Owners, however, are advised to wear a full-face helmet and BAC even offers a natty bespoke racing suit so they’ll really look the part.
Perhaps even more indulgently, a Marine Edition of the Mono has also been created using anti-corrosive component, so owners can stash away their wheels aboard their superyacht for joyrides whenever they hit dry land.
But whichever version you opt for, the Mono offers the purest driving experience most of us are ever likely to enjoy. As there’s only one seat, of course, you’ll be leaving friends or family behind, but we can’t see that deterring well-heeled petrol heads. If anything does it will be the lengthy wait for delivery, as at current production levels BAC builds just 50 of these road rockets every year.