Sector 111 is tucked away in the mountains between San Diego and Palm Springs. It's not a place famous for hot rods or auto shops but Shinoo Mapleton set up shop over ten years ago and has been thriving ever since. Shinoo has a deep passion for lightweight sports cars. He started Sector 111 as an aftermarket part company for Lotus Elise and Exige but organically the company grew into a distributor of the Ariel Atom and the BAC MONO.
On top of that, Shinoo and Team are working tirelessly on their own lightweight sports car dubbed Project Dragon. Project Dragon is the culmination of Shinoo's talents as an entrepreneur, engineer and designer. He knows what he wants and works with talented people to achieve the end goal. Palatov Motorsport is helping him with the chassis form, plus he has numerous people working on the design and engineering aspects of the vehicle. "Project Dragon is turning 1:34 laps at Laguna Seca," says Shinoo. "This thing is not for the faint of heart. It's built for people who want to reconnect to a raw driving experience," says Shinoo excitedly. There are no assists added to the vehicle, which helps make it super light weight. Its power comes from a GM LS3 mated to a Porsche 911 transmission.
Project Dragon isn't the only thing that Sector 111 is building. They have their hands in multiple Lotus builds and a long line of BAC MONOs are being meticulously built by Shinoo and his team.
"This thing is not for the faint of heart. It's built for people who want to reconnect to a raw driving experience"
The BAC MONO was designed in the UK by the Briggs Brothers as a Formula car for the street. They have spec'd out super high end components to make this lightweight monster a dream to drive. The car is powered by a Cosworth four cylinder mated to a F-3 spec Hewland sequential gearbox . BAC MONO's actuated shifting mechanics sound like a rifle fire each time you shift. The buzz of the engine is all so familiar to anyone that has been to a F1 race and the tire screeches are few and far between. The sleek ride sticks to the road and carves in and out of tight turns, floating through any elevation changes.
Getting into the car is a bit of a balancing act. The seat is bare carbon fiber, so you step on to the base and hold onto both sides and drop your self down while kicking your feet out toward the pedals. Once you're in, it is extremely claustrophobic and tight. You barely have room to adjust side to side, but comfort is not what the MONO is all about. The MONO is pure machismo. A one seater says it all: I'm going out for a drive alone. The looks are fantastic and the engineering is superb.
When you get the car out on an open stretch of road it really starts to show you what it's worth.
"Getting into the MONO is like a ritual. You remove the steering wheel, have your helmet ready and step into the cockpit. From there you lower yourself down and start strapping in."
Temecula has beautiful rolling hills with a pleasant climate. It's a town that is currently known for its wine country. With over two dozen wineries and thousands of acres of vineyards Temecula is reminiscent of rolling vineyard hills in France. And for car lovers that means great driving roads! De Luz Road is one of those. Driving through De Luz Rd. you notice one thing. The scenery changes with every turn. At one point you can be going up and down through elevation changes with vineyards on each side and then come around a bend to have a cliff on one side and a desert rock face on the other.
The road itself is maintained well on some parts and others there is old broken pavement. But the turns are amazing. A long series of twisties has you cutting through the countryside like a child playing in their mashed potatoes. All while humming to the sound of the engine roar! De Luz Rd. during the day is almost empty, except for the rare work truck or weekday bike warrior.
The best part about De Luz Rd. is there are very few scenic turn offs, as to say don't stop and smell the roses, keep your foot on the gas and feel the turns.
"There are very few scenic turn off points. That doesn't matter cause in the MONO you don't want to stop."