1997 saw the launch of the Mantis, using the Ford 4.6 Quadcam Mustang engine raising the power output of the car from the 200 bhp in the Mantara to over 300 bhp in the Mantis in standard form.
To accommodate this engine the bonnet was totally redesigned, transforming the look of the car. The remainder of the body was the same as the late LM 500.
In 1998, with the intention of being the first 500bhp British sports car on the market, it was decided to supercharge the engine and create the Mantis GT. This increased the horsepower from 327bhp to just over 500bhp. The engine was supercharged using a Vortech supercharger combined with intercooler giving staggering performance and a 0-60 figure on road test of 3.7 seconds.
The Mantis GT was cosmetically enhanced with a rear underspoiler and carbon fibre dashboard as standard fitment.
In all, 51 road cars were produced between 1997 and 2002 - 16 of which were supercharged, and the very last Mantis being built by Marcos Heritage. Interestingly there were only 3 coupe bodied cars produced of this model.
The Marcos Mantis Challenge started in 1998 as a one make series bridging the gap between the TVR challenge and the fully blown GT series. It offered a relatively cheap form of GT racing. The challenge car was based on the road going Mantis, built around a tubular steel tub incorporating a roll cage with aluminium flooring and bulkheads, and covered by an ultra-lightweight Marcos Mantis body. The mechanical components are virtually the same as the road car. The engines were blueprinted and sealed.
In all 38 challenge cars were built and competed at the main UK circuits between 1998 and 1999. Many well-known up and coming drivers took part, but the series was short lived and only lasted for two seasons.