Praga Cars has launched the latest evolution of the lightweight all-carbon prototype-style Praga R1 racing and track day car, which has developed a popular following in the U.S. since the first examples arrived in Florida in 2013.
The latest Praga R1 features an all-new carbon fiber monocoque, splitter, floor, diffuser and rear wing alongside revised engine management software, improved electronics, adjustable pedals, larger fuel tank, revised suspension and in-car driver controls and new headlights optimized for night racing. The new R1 will succeed the car that secured overall victory in the UK in last season’s Britcar Endurance Championship with seven wins from nine races.
“While the silhouette of the R1 remains very similar at first glance, practically every part of the car has been updated or refined to offer drivers the best possible feel for the car, and the tools at their fingertips to get the maximum from the performance the R1 offers,” said Jan Martinek, Engineering Director, Praga Cars.
“Alongside improvements to the driver experience, we have revised the suspension and ECU to improve drivability and have increased downforce by 15% while reducing drag by 5%. This is a significant step, and we look forward to seeing the results when we start the 2021 season.”
Mark Harrison, Managing Director, Praga Cars UK said: “The new R1 does not just deliver a series of impressive technical upgrades on an already mature championship-winning race car, but highlights Praga’s ambition. In offering a dramatic and exciting race car that is accessible, easy to own and run, and dramatic to watch, it is perfect for team owners, novice drivers looking to experience downforce, experienced racers looking to step into LMP-style racing and, importantly, sponsors. We already have strong demand from drivers, team owners and potential dealers globally. North America continues to be one of the most passionate audiences for the R1 and we are excited to introduce the car to the USA later this year.”
While the car retains its signature silhouette, every body panel is new. The carbon monocoque also features zylon panels for increased driver safety. A new floor and splitter are introduced to optimize the underfloor airflow to a revised diffuser. The wider, reprofiled rear wing completes the new aero package. The R1 continues to be powered by the turbocharged 2-liter R-A Praga T Engine, a proven race engine from Renault Alpine, offering drivers 365 bhp in a car that still weighs just 1418lbs, producing lateral forces in corners of up to 3G.
Upgrades to the engine management software improve throttle response and produce a smoother power curve with a much wider window. Torque is available for longer and, combined with the reduction in drag, it will make the R1 even more competitive against higher-powered GTs on long straights as the car approaches its maximum speed. Coupled with the modifications to the suspension, the new R1 is focused on optimizing driver feel.
The R1 is engineered for ease of set-up and maintenance and can be operated by a single mechanic. Large, but light carbon body panels are easily removed to allow access to mechanics and consumables. The lightweight philosophy reduces tire wear and mechanical stress, further reducing running costs during the season.
Other significant upgrades optimize the new R1 for endurance racing, including a 50% larger 24-gallon fuel tank (up 8.5 gallons), which now contains 2 main pumps and four scavenging pumps. Furthermore, the new R1 has revised headlights for night or wet racing, while multiple in-car controls have also been added to allow the driver to monitor fuel level and fuel and coolant pressures from the cockpit.
The USA is a significant market for Praga, where the first R1 arrived in 2013 and won on its debut at Homestead Miami Speedway. This successful start has continued, with Pragas taking 25 podiums in 2019 and claiming first and second in the FARA Championship in 2020.
The first new R1s are already being delivered to customers in the UK ahead of the 2021 season, and U.S. orders will arrive in the USA later this year. The new Praga R1 is currently being assembled at the company’s established development and engineering facility near to the Slovakia Ring, with production of orders now being taken for delivery in early summer.