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.
By now your heart is really beating. Not only is the ambience unfamiliar but so are the details. Set within the fastidiously aligned matt-carbon panels are dials for brake bias and a five-stage traction-control system, which at its most draconian entirely locks out the limited-slip differential. We go for the mid-way setting at first. There are also buttons for a plumbed-in fire extinguisher and one to prime the fuel pump and other electrical systems.
The 290mm wheel itself is relatively straightforward and achingly pretty. Just like a Ferrari, it houses all the controls a road-car might need. Jutting into the edges of your vision are wheel arches sheltering custom-compound 205/40 Kumho tyres. You just hope they’ll be up to the job on a wet, leaf-shrewn day in Cambridgeshire.
If you’ve remembered to remove your helmet from the narrow 80-litre front boot, now’s the time to don it. Then open the AP Racing clutch, fire the engine via a starter button dead ahead, hold down the Kermit-green neutral button with your left hand and pull the right-hand paddle to engage first. With a firm but mercifully linear clutch action the featherweight Mono then eases into motion with all the drama and inertia of a leaf blown off the pavement. Loud? Very. Intimidating? Surprisingly not, but also unequivocally distinct from anything else with licence plates.
What the Mono feels like to drive
Allowing the Mono’s 2.5-litre Ford Duratec time to warm is your chance to grasp the more prosaic elements of the driving experience. Over-the-shoulder visibility would be superb if only the harness would permit such an act. T-junctions are therefore tricky. The tiny wing-mirrors, held out on stalks, are useful at a trundle but the car’s ferocious, high-frequency vibrations, which also find their way unfiltered into your sternum, render them largely decorative as the pace quickens. Using them is like trying to sip a cup of tea whilst running.
This car’s competition DNA is also detectable in the unassisted steering’s 1.7-turns lock-to-lock, and so five-point turns are the norm. Also important is to dip the clutch when changing gear at lower engine speeds (don’t fret: flat upshifts will ensue), just to give the Hewland-sourced six-speed sequential a bit of help. It is, after all, pneumatically operated and lifted straight from a Formula 3 car, for which the body and suspension take-up points are still easily visible.