Becoming a better driver doesn’t require high-dollar performance or track-only vehicles. Especially because purpose-built racers, like the Challenger Drag Pak and Aston Martin’s upcoming superbike, aren’t street-legal. But some supercar makers design their machines to at least pay lip service to on-road civility. One of the more extreme examples is the single-seat British-built BAC Mono. However, there’s another track-only supercar set to make its on-road debut: the Brabham BT62R.
The Gen 2 BAC Mono and Brabham BT62R: the different supercar approaches
Like the previous-gen version, the Gen 2 BAC Mono only has 1 seat. However, the update brings a new body for improved aerodynamics. The 2020 car also rides about 0.8” lower, Hagerty reports. And thanks to new wheels, lighter AP Racing calipers, 3D-printed components, and graphene-enhanced carbon fiber, it weighs 1257 pounds. That’s 22 pounds lighter than the previous-gen BAC Mono. And that weight can be cut further with the optional carbon-ceramic brakes.
Instead of a naturally-aspirated engine, the new BAC Mono has a Mountune-tuned Ford EcoBoost 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. It makes 332 hp and 295 lb-ft, Roadshow reports. And with its strengthened 6-speed paddle-shifted transmission, it can go 0-60 in 2.7 seconds. Adjustable Ohlins dampers and Pirelli Trofeo R tires help corral that power.
Meanwhile, with its roof and doors, the Brabham BT62R seems almost luxurious in comparison. Plus, as the street-legal version of the Brabham BT62, it has A/C, more sound insulation, Alcantara seats, and a heated windshield, Automobile reports. It also has an axle-lift system to clear speed bumps.
But the Brabham BT62, even in ‘R’ trim, is still a supercar. Its mid-mounted 5.4-liter V8 puts out 700 hp and 492 lb-ft, Road & Track reports, sent to the rear wheels via a 6-speed paddle-shifted sequential transmission. It also has a functional front splitter and rear diffuser and rides on Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport tires. The brakes are carbon-ceramic, and the body is made of carbon fiber.
However, for the Brabham BT62R owners who want to take to the track, there’s an optional package with more-extreme aero components, Hagerty reports. And the chassis is FIA-certified.
What are the BAC Mono and Brabham BT62 like to drive?
Despite their different forms, the BAC Mono and Brabham BT62 are similarly stripped-down inside. Each has a carbon-fiber steering wheel, a few displays, some indicator and shift lights, and at least one well-bolstered racing seat.
Without a roof or even airbags, driving the BAC Mono is a visceral experience, Autotrader reports. However, despite its spartan design, the Mono is actually easier to drive than you might think, Evo reports.
The chassis is compliant, as is the suspension. The steering is sharp and incredibly precise. And there’s a ton of grip; but even if you start to slide, the BAC Mono is easy to control. Plus, because you can see and feel so much, it’s easy to nail every single corner perfectly, R&T reports.
The BT62R is undoubtedly more comfortable than the track-only Brabham BT62. But given the supercar’s roots, it’ll likely be just as sharp. Autoweek and Car and Driver compare the BT62 to McLaren’s Senna GTR: serious, but also strangely approachable. The ride is surprisingly comfortable, thanks to Ohlins dampers. And while the steering is well-weighted, it’s not hyperactively fast.
In track form, the Brabham BT62’s brakes to require a bit of heat for maximum efficacy. But once they get it, they stop the supercar quickly. Plus, with the racing tires and aerodynamic features, the BT62 simply grips and turns.
Getting one of your own
Unfortunately, although the Brabham BT62R’s on-road refinements include a backup camera, side mirrors, and road lights, there are no plans to sell it in the US. However, Automobile reports the Australian carmaker is working on a car that will be federalized. And, if you really want one, importing a race car is a bit easier than importing a road car.
That being said, if you do take that route, a Brabham BT62 or BT62R won’t be cheap. The road-going car starts at about $1.6 million, Goodwood reports. The track-only model is slightly cheaper, The Drive reports, at $1.47 million.
In contrast, not only is the BAC Mono already street-legal in the US, it’s considerably less expensive. Admittedly, $215,000 is still pricey for a car with only one seat and no roof. But it’s one of the closest things to a road-going F1 car you’re likely to find.
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