JUN 27th 2015

FoS single‑seaters... but not the obvious ones!

Think Festival of Speed and it is single-seater formula cars – up to and including current F1 machines – that will probably come to mind first. 

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But there are a great many other cars at FoS this year with room for a driver only… and some more obvious than others. GRR thought it would be fun to seek them out.

The new BAC Mono makes an obvious starting point. Single-seater cars for the road are rare indeed but this car is not called Mono for nothing. Since its launch at FoS a couple of years ago the fast and focused car has been acclaimed as the nearest thing to a formula car for the road. That’s a reputation the new model launched this weekend (see it in the first glance category) is sure to enhance with its new Mountune engine with 300bhp, for a claimed 0-62mph in 2.8 seconds. 

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Less obvious, and just slightly slower, is the Toyota Tonero. You may not have heard of it but with one sold around the world every 12 minutes it’s the biggest selling forklift truck in the world. On show on the Toyota Materials Handling stand at the festival, the £19,000 machine has a top speed of 12mph… and is definitely a monoposto

There’s room for only one in the Brough Superior motorcycle and sidecar combo, part of the ‘A bit on the side’ display on the Cartier Style et Luxe lawn. (Yes, we know to go anywhere it needs a rider but we are not counting them…) The sidecar occupant needs nerves of steel and ideally should not be a smoker. The clue’s in the name of the sidecar: Alpine Grand Sports Petrol Tube Sidecar. You got it: the passenger is encircled by pipes filled with petrol (1.5 gallons!) as a reserve fuel supply!

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Mustangs are normally pretty spacious but try getting more than one person in this beauty and you will fail. ‘Sexy Sally’ is a Mustang all right, but as in P-51, the American fighter plane. Mustangs are flavour of the festival with Ford launching its new ‘Stang (former Stig Ben Collins is driving the Mustang 350R up the hill) but the P-51 belongs to Bill Shepherd, who as a Mustang marque specialist has sold rather more ‘Stangs in the UK than Ford has. Bill has plenty of Mustangs (the cars) as well as the plane in his FoS display. 

There’s room for one only in the single-seaters that feature this year on many of the big manufacturers’ stands. As well as the solitary seat they have steering wheels and pedals but despite all that they are all firmly bolted down and going nowhere. Driving simulators. These days they are just incredible. And there’s lots of them all around FoS this year. This one being enjoyed by a young enthusiast is on the Nissan stand.

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There is of course one class of car that only ever has one seat: the record-breakers. This year at FoS there’s everything from Babs to Bloodhound but the one that’s caught our eye is from Peugeot, the extraordinary 404 diesel streamliner which back in 1965 lapped the Montlhery circuit for 5000km (3106 miles). At an average speed of 99mph. 

Not as fast as an F1 single-seater perhaps but, we reckon, just as cool!

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