Imagine a life where the new McLaren, Ferrari or Lamborghini feels a bit… soft. What a terrible existence.
If this is you, thankfully there is a solution which doesn’t involve strapping a couple of turbos onto an old Dodge Viper. But it does mean losing your windscreen, all passenger seats and enough weight until you go beyond 500bhp per tonne. Enter the lightweight, technology-driven world of the BAC Mono.
Before we delve deeper into this magical fountain of Liverpool-based madness, you might have noticed a few changes to the Official Supplier list at the bottom of our homepage. Joining the Speedhunters team are car care gurus Gtechniq, a company that embraces the very latest technology while boasting a huge involvement in the world of motorsport.
We’ll go into a little more detail on Gtechniq very soon, including their history, product range and why you – the Speedhunters audience – should care. But all you need to know for now is that they’re die-hard petrolheads.
In true enthusiast fashion, Gtechniq wanted their first appearance on the site to be glimpse into one of their most exciting partnerships – that with Briggs Automotive Company.
Briggs Automotive Company – or BAC for short – exploded onto the scene in 2011 with the launch of their first supercar, the Mono. The company was actually founded two years earlier by brothers Neil and Ian Briggs (both of whom have previously worked closely with Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Bentley) but, like many similar sports car companies in the past, wanted to showcase what they could do without the constraints of a major OEM.
The result was the Mono, a lightweight, single-seat supercar with a razor-edged focus. This wasn’t a kit car, nor was it a space-framed race car – it was entirely unique to BAC, and 10 years on it still remains one of the most dramatic and potent driving experiences on the planet.
Zero compromise. That’s always been at the top of BAC’s agenda, so much so that even passengers are considered an unnecessary commodity. When you’re building the ultimate driving experience, the only person who needs entertaining is the driver.
‘Car care’ and ‘ultimate driving experience’ aren’t two phrases that usually coexist with one another, so if you’re wondering where the Gtechniq connection is here it’s all down to the coating.
That’s because every BAC Mono (and Mono R) leaves the Liverpool factory freshly coated with one of Gtechniq’s technology-fuelled coatings. This is one of Gtechniq’s specialities; in recent years coatings have become as important – if not more – than the detailing process when cleaning a car.
Aside from providing a protective barrier on your car’s bodywork, coatings such as Gtechniq Halo make follow-up cleaning and maintenance much easier by repelling dirt and water particles (lasting up to two years on both PPF and vinyl wraps).
“The density of the coating and its low surface energy improves dirt and water repellency of PPF or vinyl,” explains Gtechiq’s Dominik Berry. “It also helps to prevent staining from dirt ingression as well as reducing yellowing caused by UV rays.”
There’s something ironic about paint protection needing its own protection, but with a typical car costing upwards of £2,000 to PPF, it’s not something you just throw on and forget about; it’s called protection, not prevention after all. And it’s this joint love of science and technology incorporated into their respective products that brings BAC and Gtechniq together. They’re on the same page.
There’s a good reason for protection here. The Mono will hit 60mph in 2.8-seconds and carry on to 170mph (273km/h), but that only tells half the story. Open it up on the track and you’ll quickly see why the Mono holds the record for a production car at the Hungaroring, Anglesey Coastal, Zolder and Sepang to name a few. That’s just the Mono, too. The Mono R is lighter, more powerful and even faster.
Every single BAC Mono is completely bespoke. Sure, each model gets a 2.5-litre Mountune-developed Duratec engine (mated to a 6-speed sequential transmission), but the possibilities to tailor the cars after this remains endless. In fact, one customer requested a bright pink shade of paint so that, and we quote, ‘when I go past people on track days, it’ll be funny’.
It’s safe to say BAC customers sound like our kind of people.
Truth be told, everyone at BAC sound like our kind of people. The car park is awash with sports saloons, hot hatchbacks and modified modes of transport. There was even an E46 330d – the number one unsung hero of the automotive industry, responsible for lugging parts up and down the country with relative speed and comfort at a bargain price.
But enough about our niche interests; let’s talk more about the design studio at BAC.
The first thing you notice is the fact it’s filled from left to right and floor to ceiling with model cars. As we walked around the end stage of the assembly line, an unassuming round window in a matte black door caught our eye. This would turn out to be a room full of inspiration; from paint and trim samples right through to every classic (and current) livery imaginable. Rally, Le Mans, Formula 1 and everything in between.
It’s in this room where the colour schemes and bespoke paint finishes are developed before being brought to life for BAC customers. That might sound unnecessary for a car destined to spend a lot of its life on track, but there’s two important things to remember: Firstly, the majority of customers will have access to a dedicated track or race car which doesn’t mind rubbing doors every weekend. And secondly, the Mono and Mono R are both road legal. Turn up, decimate all on track and drive home without a single transporter needed.
This attitude is what truly drives innovative carmakers like BAC. Purely developing a car to go fast on track is one thing, but refining it to the point of being an engaging road car, daily drivable and still super-fast on track requires a completely different skillset. And that’s only doable when everyone involved in the project lives and breathes cars.
This approach trickles down into the community surrounding BAC. There’s a ferociously active owners club and WhatsApp group where existing BAC owners welcome newcomers unified by this passion. Not only are they sharing experiences, they’re sharing ideas too. In fact, BAC tells us that many current owners have more than one Mono in their garage.
Speaking of design, what do you reckon inspired the Mono’s panelled, futuristic look? Aerodynamics? CAD? Or its use of lightweight materials? Well, a bit of everything. But to throw a little easter egg into the mix, a large part of the design was inspired by Björk’s iconic All Is Full Of Love music video from 1999, which might just be one of the coolest things we’ve heard all year. If you’ve never seen it, we urge you to have a look and listen on YouTube.
Getting even a tiny glimpse inside BAC allows you to understand exactly why the Mono exists and – more importantly – why their customers are so devoted to the brand. There’s a real sense of involvement by everyone here; features have been added because they add to the driving experience, not because a committee sat around a table and dictated it.
We’ll likely never own a Mono or Mono R in our lifetimes, but we’re glad cars like these exist, along with the customers who drive the development as much as BAC do. Built by enthusiasts for enthusiasts; the way all good sports cars should be.
Photos by Mark Riccioni