The future King of England got to check out the single-seater sports car from the cockpit.

The British Royal Family spend much of their time on official visits to important institutions, businesses and landmarks. These can often be quite obscure, and the reasons for a Royal visitation not entirely clear. So they often provide rather unlikely photo opportunities. Like the sight of the future King of England ensconced in the cockpit of a BAC Mono.

Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, recently visited the University of Manchester’s National Graphene Institute. The UK Government-funded facility is one the leading centers of research and development into the ultra-lightweight, extremely high-strength material which, over the next couple of decades, will probably become as omnipresent as carbon fiber is now.

The single-seater BAC Mono sports car, which is built 30 miles (48 kilometers) down the road in Liverpool, is the first production car in the world to use graphene in its construction. The material is used in a composite the rear fenders are made from, saving weight and increasing strength.

BAC was founded by brothers Ian and Neill Briggs in 2011. The latest version of the Mono uses a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder Mountune engine producing 309 horsepower (230 kilowatts) and 280 pound-feet (380 Newton meters) of torque. Extensive use of high-strength steel, carbon fiber, and that graphene keeps weight down to 1279 pounds (580 kilograms). Performance, as a result, is vivid. Aided by a six-speed sequential gearbox, the Mono fires from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds, and runs on to 170 miles per hour (274 kilometers per hour).

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William and Kate inspected the Mono closely, William even sliding down into the cockpit without too much hassle. According to BAC, they were suitably impressed, calling it “amazing”.

Ian Briggs said: “Impressing the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with the Mono was another massive feat for BAC, as we continue to go from strength to strength. Using graphene is just one of the many groundbreaking innovations on the Mono to ensure we stay at the forefront of the automotive industry. Having Prince William sit in the car was a great experience - perhaps his grandmother fancies a go, too!”

Now that would be an unlikely sight - Queen Elizabeth sat in a Mono.

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