High-tech material will make lightweight track car 10-20 percent lighter.
At around 1,200 pounds, the BAC Mono is already one of the lightest vehicles on the market. But it's about to get even lighter.
The Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) that makes the Mono has received a grant from the Niche Vehicle Network to further develop the use of graphene. The super-lightweight woven material is similar to conventional carbon fiber, but made up of sheets just one atom thick to further reduce weight by some 20 percent. BAC already uses graphene for the rear wheel arches on the Mono, but the grant will help it further develop the material.
"Niche vehicle manufacturers are of paramount importance in the automotive industry," said Neill Briggs, "acting as stepping stones for mass-market production technology – which is where we aim to place our graphene-enhanced composite body panels in the near future."
The closest thing to a formula racing car for the road, the latest BAC Mono packs a 2.5-liter straight four, naturally aspirated and based on the Ford Duratec block – similar to what you might find under the hood of a Ford Fusion/Mondeo, Escape/Kuga, Transit Connect, or even the Mazda3. Only in the BAC Mono, it's been tuned by Cosworth to produce 305 horsepower.
That's enough to send the flyweight machine from 0-62 mph in just 2.8 seconds on its way to a top speed of 170 mph. The Mono will serve as the basis for a proof-of-concept being developed by BAC and grant co-recipients Haydale and Pentaxia.
The Niche Vehicle Network is an association of low-volume automotive manufacturers and suppliers in the UK, where this particular corner of the industry has historically been (and remains) particularly strong. Along with BAC, the Network includes member-marques like Morgan, Ariel, and even Aston Martin – producer of such luxury grand tourers as the Vantage, DB11, and the new DBS Superleggera.