Liverpool-based BAC, maker of the £125,000 Mono track day single-seater, will begin work later this year on a stablemate for its “purist supercar”, aimed at boosting total production from the present 20 a year to more than 100.
The company, spun off an automotive design consultancy established in Germany around a decade ago by Liverpool-born brothers Neil and Ian Briggs, currently employs 24 people but wants to expand to nearer 60 by building more cars and moving more of its assembly operations in-house.
Development director Neil Briggs says BAC (which stands for Briggs Automotive Company) will first lift Mono production from the present two or three cars a week to four towards the end of the year to cut its present year-long waiting list and help cope with demand from the present stable of 20 export markets, of which the US is currently the leader.
The Mono’s stablemate is several years away, although Briggs believes the company’s flexible manufacturing progress and agility will allow quick progress once the major decisions have been made.
Few of the new BAC model’s specifications are set in stone, though many of the Mono’s properties – ultra-light weight, very high performance, compact proportions, sophisticated aerodynamics, a driver-hugging cockpit, “formula car” suspension technology, normally aspirated power and possibly a pneumatic paddle-controlled Hewland transaxle — will be on the agenda. Neil Briggs says he would like the chance to co-operate more fully at the design and integration stage with an engine partner. BAC is also about to appoint an owner advisory panel and will listen carefully to its opinions, says Briggs.
The key decisions will be over the car’s size, whether it has an open or closed cockpit, and above all, the number of seats and their layout. So far, says Neil Briggs, there are strong views in favour of single and three-seat (with the driver in the middle) layouts. “Nothing’s decided,” says Briggs, “but I don’t believe we’d do a two-seater. That’s other people’s territory.”
For 2016, the Mono gets a mountune-developed 2.5-litre Ford four cylinder engine to replace the previous 2.3-litre. It lifts power 9% to 310bhp, but concedes a 40kg weight gain so its power-to-weight ratio stays at 525bhp/tonne. It also has a fly-by-wire throttle for the first time, giving greater sensitivity and more sophisticated throttle mapping.
Other changes to the Mono include the adoption of a wider chassis and thinner side panels, allowing for 56mm of extra width in the Mono's cockpit. However, despite these changes, the exterior dimensions of the Mono remain the same. Each driver also gets a custom fitted seat and steering wheel, and can specify side panels with visible carbon fibre.