Currently reading: New BAC Mono arrives with 330bhp and refreshed looks
Spruced-up single-seater gains a turbocharger for a subtle power boost and 30% more torque
Steve Cropley Autocar
News
3 mins read
3 March 2020

BAC has revealed a lighter, much faster new-look version of its single-seat Mono supercar, which adopts turbo power for the first time as a way of meeting forthcoming emissions regulations and maintaining compliance in its 40 export markets across the world. Priced at £165,950, the car is being launched this week.

It is powered by a Mountune-developed, 2.3-litre Ford four-cylinder engine developing 330bhp, a boost of 25bhp over the outgoing car’s normally aspirated version of the same unit. However the Mono’s horsepower boost is dwarfed by a torque increase of nearly 30%: the new turbo engine’s output rises from 229lb ft to “over” 295lb ft lb. Company bosses Neil and Ian Briggs estimate that their new car should be around four seconds a lap faster than the original on the Silverstone grand prix circuit. Official 0-60mph time is 2.7seconds, with a top speed of 170mph.

The new Mono weighs just 570kg at the kerb, uses a new iteration of BAC’s traditional steel space frame chassis, and is clad with graphene enhanced carbon fibre panels that allow material to be thinner (and thus lighter) for the same strength. The styling closely follows the new look of the special edition Mono R — less that car’s controversial F3-style ram-air intake behind the driver’s which isn’t needed because of the engine’s new forced induction system — with every panel redesigned to reduce visual mass, lower overall height and reduce frontal area, to improve aero performance.

The car is 20mm lower, and 25mm longer, has more optimal weight distribution (due to a lowered fuel tank and a centralised battery) and incorporates a plethora of tiny weight saving measures so that despite the extra weight of its turbo engine, it weighs 10kg less overall.

The all-independent wishbone suspension has been extensively redesigned to reduce pitch under brakes and squat under acceleration. It also incorporates Ohlins two-way adjustable dampers, lightweight AP brake calipers and specially homologated Pirelli Trofeo R tyres, now standard on all Monos. The result, says BAC, is sharper turn-in, better rotation at the apex of a corner, and better traction at the exit.

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The Briggs brothers say the latest Mono incorporates a high degree of innovation: there around 40 3D printed components (mirror supports, headlight surrounds and wiring brackets among them). They are especially proud of a newly developed aluminium-carbon fibre wheel design developed with software partners Autodesk that will be offered as an option. It shaves around 35% off the weight of the existing Mono’s already-ultralight standard aluminium wheels.

Though BAC is already taking orders for the new Mono it won’t start delivering them until well into 2021 — beginning in the UK, European and South-East Asian markets — because the factory will be fully occupied this year building and delivering its already-sold batch of Mono R specials shown at Goodwood last summer.

Q&A Neill Briggs, BAC director of product development

Why have you opted for a turbo engine in the new Mono?

We believe that’s the best route we can take to ensuring we meet the various clean-air regulations in our export markets around the world. We’re working with Mountune, who have been our engine partners.

Does the new car still use a steel spaceframe, like the first one?

It does, but we’ll be using our seventh iteration of the original. Our experience shows what a flexible design it has been, and how right we were to adopt it. The latest version had been on a diet, like most things in the car.

You’re using lots of 3D printed components; why is that?

It’s a technique that works especially well for small production runs, where tooling wouldn’t be affordable. We have around 40 printed components all over the car — finishers, brackets, mirror supports. The quality’s great, and we can easily change their designs if we need to.

What’s so special about your new optional hybrid wheel design?

It’s extremely light, and it looks great. For the Mono R we produced a wheel with an aluminium centre and carbon fibre rim that saved over 2kg compared with our original design. This new one saves another 1.22kg. We’re really proud of it.

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