Praga Cars, the Czech Republic’s iconic auto manufacturer, has released a revised version of its successful, race-winning R1, but with a twist: this version is obscenely light due to its all-carbon construction, meaning it doesn’t need tons of extra power to prove itself on the race track.
The R1's predecessor was already a super light, carbon fiber-heavy machine, but this new version has been revised to contain a new carbon fiber monocoque, splitter, floor, diffuser, and rear wing. So, it may look the same as the previous R1, but every single body panel has been optimized.
The monocoque also contains panels made of zylon, the world’s strongest man-made synthetic fiber, for added driver safety. It’s an ultra-strong material that can handle big changes in temperature, making it ideal for a racing car. In addition, the floor and splitter have been optimized for better airflow while the wider rear wing produces 15 percent more downforce while also reducing drag by 5 percent. Not bad.
And that’s somehow not even the most impressive part of this machine, although it is undoubtedly cool. Its turbocharged 2-liter R-A Praga T Engine from Renault Alpine only makes 365 horsepower. If you’re wondering how on earth it’s a successful racer, look no further than its weight, a measly 1,418 pounds that offers the same power-to-weight ratio as the beefy McLaren 765LT. Suddenly, those horsepower look a lot more impressive.
“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,” Praga Cars UK managing director Mark Harrison said. “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.”
Why is it so perfect, you might ask? Well, in part because the R1 is designed to be run and optimized—even competitively—with a single mechanic. That’s just another benefit of the lightweight body panels. You don’t need a small army to move them around in order to access the upgraded tech.
Praga hasn’t released a ton of hard performance numbers yet, but some other improvements for this prospective racer include:
- Engine management software to improve throttle response and make for a smoother power curve
- 302 lb-ft of torque, which Praga says will make the R1 competitive against high-powered GT cars on long straights
- Suspension modifications
- 50 percent larger fuel tank, now 24 gallons
- Revised headlights for wet or night racing
- Adjustable pedals
- In-car controls to allow drivers to monitor fuel levels and fuel/coolant pressures
The last R1 was hugely successful in the 2020 Britcar Endurance Championship, where it secured seven wins out of a total of nine races and, as a result, the championship.
Interestingly, though, the United States is one of Praga’s most impressive markets since it first hit the track at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2013. Enthusiasts here just love the thing because it’s light, easy to handle, and even easier to maintain.
Orders for the Praga R1 from the States will be delivered sometime in the late summer, while UK orders are already being delivered to customers ahead of the 2021 racing season.