BAC – The Perfect Culmination of the UK Motorsport Supply Chain
12 Minute Read
Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) is recognised for creating the world’s only single-seater, road-legal supercar – the BAC Mono. Founded in 2009, the first vehicle was launched in 2011. The Mono is the realisation of two brothers’ vision of a road vehicle that offers the most authentic and pure driving experience possible while implementing the very latest racing technology.
It’s safe to say the story of the Speke based company is one of remarkable success – how an unconventional driving dream became reality in Britain before taking all four corners of the world by storm. BAC’s founding brothers Neill and Ian Briggs were indoctrinated into the world of cars from an early age and quickly developed a love for the industry that continued into adulthood. They always saw themselves creating their own car and bringing it to market, but first set about getting the necessary professional experience to ensure they had the perfect platform from which to build.
After graduating from their respective university courses, the brothers set up their own engineering design consultancy near Liverpool, with Neill leading engineering activities and Ian heading up the design elements. The company was commissioned to work on major automotive projects with the likes of Porsche, Mercedes, Smart, AMG, Maybach, Ford and Bentley, but also gained valuable experience with smaller brands, too.
While enhancing their reputation and delivering for OEMs, Neill and Ian worked out their niche and saw a gap in the market that they believed simply had to be filled – a single-seater, road-legal vehicle that focuses purely on the person behind the wheel; a race car for the road that can be regarded as the ultimate piece of sporting equipment for driving.
And after years of meticulous planning, designing and building, Mono was unleashed on the world as a totally unique proposition. Never has there been a supercar that combines racing technology and the latest automotive innovations with genuine track pedigree and on-road ability. The Mono is the first and remains the only car of its kind.
BAC only uses the very latest technology to ensure the Mono is as advanced as possible. The brand stays on top of technology trends from around the world and, where appropriate, puts them into production. BAC embraces technology from motorsport and the wider automotive industry, acting as the catalyst for mass-market production. BAC uses a complete range of materials in its vehicles, which includes inconel, stainless steel, titanium, aluminium, magnesium, pre-pregnated carbon fibre and even nature’s finest composite wood – to keep Mono as light as possible. BAC is also the world’s first manufacturer to develop graphene panels. The Mono also features optional hybrid carbon-composite wheels. BAC continues to embrace the latest trends and is a fast mover when it comes to adopting new manufacturing software and technology, including generative designs and 3D printing.
Now, eight years later, the 30 employee company has seen the Mono exported to over 35 territories around the globe. It has broken a whole host of performance records on the track, making it widely considered as the best driver’s car around.
Designed, engineered and managed by experts with backgrounds in several leading automotive, high-end supercar and motorsport brands, Mono is a luxury product that owners can tailor to suit their needs. From performance to unique vehicle aesthetics, Mono drivers are offered a truly bespoke buying experience – every single Mono rolled out of the BAC factory is a one-of-one vehicle.
In terms of manufacturing, BAC has been responsible for a number of world firsts in the car industry that have brought about impressive performance and weight-saving enhancements on the Mono. BAC was the first company in the world to develop hybrid carbon-composite wheels in collaboration with British performance wheel manufacturer, Dymag. It also scooped another world first when it became the first manufacturer to develop a car featuring panels incorporating the use of lightweight graphene materials.
As a relatively small company, BAC has the ability to react quickly to technology changes and developments. This agile nature acts as a vital technology stepping stone to bring the latest and most innovative products to the mass market. BAC only uses technology from top-tier partners and proudly stays loyal to its British roots by using local suppliers whenever possible.
This makes logistics a key feature at the heart of the business. The Mono is built with 1250 bespoke components and over 95% of the supply chain is UK-based. More impressively, over 50% of the bill of materials is sourced within Liverpool City and the North West regions. This close knit supply chain makes partnerships a critical part of the business.
Partnering with Liverpool City Council has seen BAC form a strong relationship with the Mayor of Liverpool and his team, resulting in commercial doors being opened for the company. In fact, BAC tests each and every Mono at Liverpool John Lennon Airport – the only car manufacturer to do so at any commercial airport in the UK.
For the construction of the vehicle, BAC has partnered with Haydale and Pentaxia to explore the benefits of using graphene in its composite body panels. With funding from the Niche Vehicle Network (NVN), BAC famously became the first world’s first car manufacturer to develop a graphene-paneled car. As a result, in 2018 NVN granted further funding to the trio to assess how the automotive industry as a whole could benefit from the innovative lightweight material. In collaboration with Haydale Composite Solutions, BAC also created graphene-enhanced carbon fibre composite rear wheel arches as graphene is significantly lighter and stronger than standard carbon fibre, bringing weight reductions of around 20%.
From a software perspective, BAC works with Autodesk to develop its automotive architecture, design and manufacturing. The CFD software is used to develop elements of the Mono supercar from the conception to the build. BAC and Autodesk have joined forces as true innovators and the partnership has already seen boundaries pushed beyond previous comprehension. Take a look at how the Mono comes together through 3D Computer-Aided Design (CAD): http://bit.ly/2ee0L7Q
In January 2019, BAC announced Italian giant Pirelli as its new tyre partner. Pirelli and BAC worked together over a two-year development period to produce the perfect range of tyres specifically for the Mono with wet, slick and road-going Trofeo R options. It is BAC’s goal to develop enduring relationships with its supplier base and create win-win situations. BAC operates an intensive ‘supplier fitness programme’ with major suppliers, coordinating open issues in engineering, purchasing, logistics and quality. BAC has continuous stock for all stock-keeping locations. The company has transparency of stock levels, values and parts available, with a Material Management System (MMS) to service its manufacturing sites and dealers around the globe.
The Supply Chain
With more than 30 staff producing three cars each month, the company is the epitome of precision logistics and streamlined production. Commenting upon the supply chain management, BAC’s Chief Manufacturing Officer, Mr Rainer Kuhlwein says: “We have more than 100 active suppliers that work closely with us to deliver components to the assembly line. With over 1250 components completing the vehicle, the construction is broken down into a series of sub-assemblies. We have more than 15 major sub-assemblies that are built adjacent to the assembly line. With 15 staff in our vehicle build team, the process is streamlined for maximum efficiency.”
Arriving from its supply chain, the chassis is the first element of the vehicle construction. The powertrain system that consists of a 2.5 litre Mountane engine is then connected to the chassis. With the powertrain and chassis construction in place, BAC then undertakes its ‘Gateway’ process. As Mr Kuhlwein continues: “Prior to installing the interior features to the vehicle; we rigorously test all functions of the vehicle. Following this testing, we will install the vehicle interior and build the bodywork and panels around the chassis. The final assembly process involves the integration of the suspension, axles and undercarriage. Once the vehicle is fully assembled, we take it to Liverpool Airport for test driving that will account for the performance of the brakes, acceleration, turning and handling and the electronics. As the only UK vehicle manufacturer to have access to a ‘live’ airport for testing, we have a £50m insurance policy that allows us to access the airstrip.”
Best of British
BAC set out to make best use of the UK’s strong specialised motorsports supplier base and its special national skills endowment in limited series supply – the UK has the world’s largest concentration of high-performance sports car companies. The BAC development strategy emphasises the combination of unique design and engineering with proven components and technology from world-leading, UK-based performance vehicle component companies.
BAC continues to break new ground around the world, winning new fans every day. However, the company ethos remains the same: challenge convention and provide the ultimate the ultimate driving experience on both the road and track. Since its inception, the Mono has evolved to its third generation vehicle. Whereas the first two generations witnessed powertrain changes, the current third generation Mono now has a wider chassis construction, traction control, electronic braking systems and enhancements to the vehicle interior. The vehicle enhancements are the result of continued collaboration with the UK’s leading motorsport and manufacturing companies.
Engine Type: 2488cc Mountune normally aspirated, 4 cylinder
Maximum speed: 170mph
0-60mph: 2.7 seconds
Maximum Power: 305bhp
Maximum Torque: 308Nm
Power-to-weight ratio: 525bhp per tonne
Price: From £144,950 + VAT
Dimensions and Weight:
Overall Width: 1836mm
Overall Length: 3952mm
Height: 1110 mm
Wheelbase: 2565 mm
Ground Clearance: 100mm (f) 110mm (r)