Superlatives get wheeled out for the latest supercars, but the rapier-like creation before you offers an experience so indisputably different to the norm it’s difficult to know where to begin.
A coffee might have been nice, but after watching the Mono roll off its transport the caffeine seems unnecessary. This car’s footprint is extremely small – it sits within that of a Fiesta ST, with the steering wheel at knee height – but everywhere you look are the sort of aggressive, intricate details that give it an inflated, combative presence. It’s a skeletonised watch with numerous complications, all designed to help either achieve or deploy a Veyron-matching power-to-weight ratio of 525bhp per tonne.
In the case of the Mono, of which Liverpool-based Briggs Automotive Company now constructs nearly 40 each year despite having started the ball rolling only in 2012, those complications are mouth-watering. First you notice the entirely exposed rear suspension, which like so much about this ‘A-to-A’ offering is pure track-car with a pushrod-activated double-wishbone design and two-way remote-reservoir dampers from Sachs ensconced within race-spec Eibach springs.
At the front the same set-up remains artfully exposed through tightly cropped apertures in the carbonfibre body panels, but then again everything affixed to this carbon-steel spaceframe is impossibly neat. The dazzling Dymag wheels are carbon, too. Or at least the 17in rim is, with an alloy billet centre-section. They save 2.5kg at each corner and were a world first, says BAC. They’re also a £12,000 extra – an ultra-lightweight forged OZ Racing piece is standard. Composite brakes, as fitted to this car, save a further 20kg, and cost another £12,000. This isn’t the last time you’ll raise a pecuniary eyebrow, but what an entrance.
Inside the Mono's cockpit
And so you slide in, eager to discover everything, and here there is process. Many owners have the fixed-position carbon Tillett seats (it’s the pedal-box that slides) made to measure and so removing the quick-release steering wheel (also moulded to the hands), placing it atop a useful deck of all-weather ‘suede’ in front of a trivial windscreen and sinking deep into the cockpit will be a case of hand meets glove.
BAC has widened the carbon safety cell by 56mm since the early days but it’s still snug in here. Not so much as to require bodywork cutouts for the driver’s arcing knuckles, a la Adrian Newey’s Red Bull F1 cars, but cosy enough to make accessing the useful zippered side-pockets a contorting experience. You’ll be grateful to have somebody on hand to encase your strangely low, reclined torso in the tight Willans five-point harness. And I do mean tight.