New-generation BAC Mono revealed at Monterey Car Week 2023
BAC has pulled the wraps from its single-seater Mono successor
BAC has unveiled a new-generation Mono at the Pebble Beach concours event during Monterey Car Week. The new BAC Mono builds on the same single-seat, minimalist design ethos as its predecessor and has been designed to be more usable on the road as well as extremely capable on track.
The car forms the core product of the Briggs Automotive Company, to give BAC its full name. The British brand, founded in 2009, already exports 80 per cent of its cars overseas, to 45 different countries, but has ambitions to expand further. The Mono has been revealed by chairman Mike Flewitt (formerly McLaren Automotive CEO, and on board at BAC since January 2023) at a ‘House of BAC’ ranch, rented in Carmel Valley for Monterey Car Week.
Retaining the delicate, open-cabin styling DNA of the original Mono, it’s a case of evolution rather than revolution from an aesthetic point of view. The New Mono looks a lot like the Old Mono – no bad thing. It takes some of its new cues from the track-focused BAC Mono R introduced in 2019 (which broke evo’s production car lap record at Anglesey Circuit last year), particularly in its frontal design.
‘There's a lot of carryover from the new-generation car, which you first saw in Mono R,’ the company’s design director and co-founder Ian Briggs tells evo. ‘It's really a refocusing of that vehicle. When I presented the car [at its reveal], along with my brother, Neil, we started off by reiterating the initial concept of when we did the original Mono, because I think it's fair to say that, as the car developed through the iterations, and eventually to the Mono R, it became more and more track-focused. It's something that naturally happens as you try to improve performance. And [that’s] despite the fact that we don't like to refer to it as a track car; we feel that does it a great disservice. [But] Mono R had become more that way. With the new model, we've gone back to the original concept: it's a nice balance between road and track.’
From a design point of view, ‘its proposition is different to that of Mono R, but for its visual identity we wanted to forge a connection between the siblings,’ Briggs says. ‘With a more rounded aesthetic form, the Mono evolves our current design language to reflect a more contemporary outlook.’
All Monos to date have used Mountune derived four-cylinder engines, with the most powerful R revving to 8800rpm and generating 343bhp. The new Mono uses a development of the naturally aspirated 2.5-litre engine, with forged pistons and con-rods, individual throttle bodies and a carbon airbox. It makes 311bhp and 231lb ft, with a redline at 8000rpm. Quoted 0-60mph time is 2.7secs.
BAC continues with its development of graphene-infused carbon panels in the car’s structure, and a quoted kerbweight of 570kg gives a power-to-weight ratio of 546bhp per tonne. (The Mono R weighs 555kg without fluids.) Weight distribution is 41 per cent front, 59 per cent rear.
Compared with the original Mono produced in 2011, the new car is claimed to have half as much dive and squat from its double-wishbone pushrod suspension, which features two-way adjustable dampers.
‘Most of the things that have changed on the car are the things that have taken that harsh edge off,’ Ian Briggs says: ‘For example, the suspension geometry, the suspension settings, and the driveability of the engine.’
Despite the aim for increased user-friendliness on the road, the new Mono uses the same six-speed motorsport-sourced sequential transmission as before. Gear ratios can be tailored to owners’ preferences, with each Mono a ‘one-of-one’ custom build. Multiple tyre options are available, including a Pirelli Trofeo R tyre developed specifically for the car, and track-only slick and wet tyres.
‘A new-generation tyre allows us to better straddle that kind of middle ground [between road and track],’ Ian Briggs tells us. ‘You need to compromise less and less as the technology allows you to deliver both of those things. [And] having centralised low weight, [as opposed to where ordinarily] you'd have to have stiff springs to control a heavy body mass, it becomes easy to have soft, supple suspension for the road. At the same time, it gives you good mechanical and predictable grip when you're on track. You don't suffer from body roll; our rear anti roll bar is the length and diameter of my little finger.’
BAC has already taken orders from various countries for the new Mono before its official unveiling, and production has begun at its Liverpool headquarters. The first car is due to be delivered immediately after the Monterey event.
‘We see America as probably our number one market,’ Ian Briggs tells evo. ‘There's a huge motoring community, especially in the state of California. The car and driving culture here, the weather, obviously; it's a perfect fit for us.’