7 min read
16 Jan

A one-seater car, also known as a single-seater, is a vehicle designed to accommodate only one occupant – the driver, of course. Driving enthusiasts love these cars because they’re often focused on delivering an intense driving experience, exceptional performance, and precise handling. The most special aspect of one-seater cars is their emphasis on driver engagement and connection with the road, as there are no distractions from passengers. 

They are commonly used in racing and track environments, where their lightweight design, aerodynamic efficiency, and responsive handling allow for high-speed performance and agility. Recognizing gearheads' need for speed, some automakers have built - even if in limited quantities - fantastic 1-seater cars for regular roads. 

Single-seaters are also known for their specialized engineering and advanced aerodynamics, and often incorporate the latest technology to maximize driver control and feedback. Here are 10 awesome 1-seat cars you’ve ever seen, most of which you can actually get your hands on. 

See also: Everything You Need To Know About 8 Unfamiliar But Extremely Powerful Cars Only True Gearheads Know About 

1. McLaren Solus GT

McLaren Solus GT.

Photo credit: MrWalkr via Wikimedia

The McLaren Solus GT is an extreme design concept initially created for the world of virtual racing and has now been brought to life as an ultra-rare production model. Only 25 Solus GTs were ever made. 

The car features a single-seater design with a central closed cockpit and jet aircraft-style canopy, breaking free from the constraints of road and race regulations. The unique monocoque houses a naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V10 engine that revs beyond 10,000 rpm and generates more than 840 horsepower. 

The car weighs less than 1,000 kg and generates 1,200 kg of downforce, delivering an experience and feel close to driving a Formula 1 car

The Solus GT’s design is a beautiful, brutal distillation of McLaren's expertise and innovation. A 2023 model is listed for sale by James Edition for a price provided on request, although reports suggest a roughly $3 million starting price. 

2. MEV Atomic

MEV Atomic.

Photo credit: RoadTrackRace via Wikimedia

The MEV Atomic is a single-seater, bike-engined kit car known for its exceptional balance and handling. It was designed to provide perfect 50-50 weight distribution not only front-to-rear but also left-to-right. 

The concept aimed for high-performance driving and track day enjoyment, with careful positioning of components such as the tank, the battery, and the engine to achieve this balance. 

The Atomic features a 998cc power plant from the R1, providing 150 horsepower on tap for a vehicle that weighs around 735 pounds. With this high power-to-weight ratio, the Atomic offers a level of thrilling performance comparable to supercars. 

It is designed with a fully adjustable suspension, which can be fine-tuned for the perfect driving feel. The car is suitable for road and track fun. 

3. McMurtry Spéirling Pure

McMurtry Spéirling Pure.

Photo credit: SupercarBlondie

The McMurtry Spéirling Pure is a record-breaking, track-only fan car designed for electrifying performance on the track. It is the first commercially available sealed skirt fan car, featuring patented downforce-on-demand fan technology that brings back historically significant aerodynamic concepts. 

The car weighs less than 1,000 kg, generates 1,000 horsepower (745kW) peak output, and is capable of achieving a top speed of 190 mph. 

The Spéirling Pure is designed for multi-lap runs on full race circuits with fast charge turnaround and is eligible for participation in the GT1 Sports Club, an exclusive hypercar driving program held at prestigious FIA circuits worldwide. 

The production will be limited to 100 units, with pre-production prototypes set to be unveiled in 2024 and deliveries starting in 2025. 

4. Hudson Free Spirit

Hudson Free Spirit.

Photo credit: Wikimedia

British automaker Hudson Component Cars produced the Free Spirit, a tricycle featuring a single rear wheel and a special tubular space frame. The open, single-seat body was crafted from plastic, with various components sourced from the Renault 5. 

The Kindred Spirit, a longer variant accommodating two people, enjoyed slightly more success, with around 17 examples of both models produced by 2003. 

The Mystic, boasting four wheels and a large rear wing, was a one-off production offered from 1992 to 1993. Additionally, a small roadster named Rose was unveiled in 1994. 

5. BAC Mono R

2021 BAC Mono R.

Photo credit: Calreyn88 via Wikimedia

The BAC Mono R is an extraordinary track-focused vehicle that epitomizes true efficiency of form with a sleeker and tighter appearance compared to the standard Mono. The Mono R delivers a satisfying 338 horsepower from a 2.5-liter Mountune engine, resulting in the highest specific output of all time for a naturally aspirated road-legal model: 136 hp per liter. 

The Mono R is the first production car in the world to incorporate the revolutionary material, graphene, in its panels, contributing to a curb weight of just 555kg. It features a stunning new generation of the single-seater design DNA, with an aggressive, organic, and futuristic stance. 

The car offers an ultimate driving experience with a phenomenal power-to-weight ratio of 610 hp per tonne. With driver engagement at its core, the BAC Mono R is easily one of the most focused road cars available, especially in terms of track speed. It is a highly exclusive model, with only 40 units made. 

See also: 14 Badass Civilian Military Vehicles For Confident And Safe Movements In The Most Dangerous Places

6. Lotus Type 51 R

Lotus Type 51 R.

Photo credit: Bonhams

The Lotus Type 51 R is a race car built in 1967 by the British motorsport team Lotus. It was powered by a 1.6-liter Ford Crossflow four-cylinder engine, which developed 110 hp and drove the rear wheels through a manual transmission. 

The Lotus 51 was a bestseller for Colin Chapman and the Lotus team, with 218 vehicles built and sold. The car was agile, fast, and extremely light, with a curb weight of 900 lb (410 kg). In 1968, a one-off model called the 51R was built with wider sidepods and was sold to a US collector. It was originally intended as a concept for a Lotus Type 51 successor. 

The 51R was part of the Formula Ford category, which became the racing world's dominant single-seater 'schoolroom' class. 

While the Lotus Type 51 R has historical significance in motorsport, it is a classic model that has contributed to Lotus’ racing heritage. Back in 2009, a lucky bidder went home with a 1968 Lotus Type 51 R after parting with £24,150 ($30,568.35 in today’s money) at a Bonhams auction event. 

7. Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170

Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170.

The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 is a limited-production high-performance car featuring the first-ever 1,000-plus-horsepower production HEMI engine. It boasts a certified 8.91-second ET at 151.17 mph, making it the world’s most powerful muscle car

With recalibrated powertrain control modules, it optimizes fueling and spark timing for both premium and high-ethanol-blended fuel to unlock its full horsepower potential. With a staggering 1,025 total horsepower at 6,500 rpm, the Demon 170 delivered an unmatched combination of power and acceleration, achieving a 0-60 mph time of 1.66 seconds. 

Production was limited to 3,300 units, with extensive upgrades including an improved, modified 3.0-liter supercharger, new driveline components, TransBrake 2.0, unique drag mode suspension, and a staggered widebody design. 

You’re probably wondering what it’s doing in a list of 1-seat cars. Well, the thing about the 170 is that anything that didn't contribute to its speed (including a passenger seat, of course) got stripped out, so it's just the driver and the Demon of speed on the strip. 

Of course, you could specify a passenger seat with your order, but we know you won't. Barely a year (March 2023) after hitting the market with a $96,666 starting price, the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 currently has a median sale value of $457,250

8. Lamborghini Egoista

Lamborghini Egoista.

Photo credit: Top Gear

The Lamborghini Egoista is a concept car created to mark Lamborghini's 50th anniversary. It features a 5.2-liter V10 engine producing 600 horsepower, with a unique one-seat cockpit resembling that of a modern fighter jet. 

The Egoista has a canopy door that is completely removable and is meant to resemble a bull ready to charge when looked at from the side. The lighting design is inspired by modern airplanes, with active aerodynamic panels that raise and lower for optimum downforce and stability.

The body and wheels are made of antiradar material, further identifying with fighter jets. The Egoista represents hedonism taken to the extreme, according to its designer, Walter de Silva. 

The car used to be displayed at the Museo Lamborghini and was later bought by a private collector and moved to an undisclosed location. 

9. Tramontana R

Tramontana R.

The Tramontana R is a limited-production sports car built by Advanced Design Tramontana in Palau de Santa Eulalia, Girona, Catalonia, Spain. It is a high-performance sports car with styling inspired by open-wheel racing cars. 

The Tramontana R features a Mercedes-AMG 5.5-liter bi-turbocharged V12 engine producing 710 horsepower (530 kW; 720 PS), mated to a 6-speed sequential gearbox and rear-wheel drive, with a top speed of 202 mph (325 km/h) and a 0–60 mph time of 3.6 seconds. 

The car weighs 1,268 kg (2,795 lb), utilizes a double wishbone suspension, and is constructed with aluminum and carbon fiber. The Tramontana R is a highly exclusive model, with only 12 units manufactured each year. 

The France-based Luxury Pulse Cars currently has one listed for approximately $652,000 (€598.800). 

10. Rinspeed Rone

Rinspeed Rone.

The Rinspeed Rone is a concept sports car that debuted in 2001 and got known for its innovative technology and environmental friendliness. It was popular for being the lowest automobile in the world, with a height of only 38 inches (97cm). 

The Rone was the first sports car to operate on biofuel made from kitchen and garden waste. The concept also introduced a unique dynamic cockpit control system, allowing for automatic adjustments of the cockpit's height and inclination based on the vehicle's speed. 

The Rinspeed Rone featured a bivalent drive concept capable of running on compressed natural gas (CNG) with significantly reduced exhaust emissions. 

Additionally, the car could operate with resource-conserving Kompogas, a CO2-neutral fuel produced by fermenting organic waste. With a lightweight design and a focus on environmental sustainability, the Rinspeed Rone represented a forward-thinking approach to automotive technology and performance.

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