Driver interview: Miles Lacey on his return to Praga Racing ANZ

Driver interview: Miles Lacey on his return to Praga Racing ANZ

British driver, Miles Lacey, will be back in the seat of the Praga Racing ANZ R1 next month to compete in the 2024 Australian Prototype Series.

Miles made his Australian racing debut in June last year when he joined the team mid-season, celebrating a P2 finish at The Bend in Adelaide. He will return to the same circuit on 7th – 9th June for Round Two, joining a grid of seasoned prototype drivers and new Praga Racing ANZ teammate, Ross Poulakis.

We caught up with Miles ahead of his flight down-under to Australia to discuss his aspirations for the season and revisit some of his Praga racing highlights.

Miles, you’re now a familiar face on any Praga grid having competed the R1 successfully over the past three years, with plenty of silverware and awards to show for it. What initially drew you to the R1 and how did you get started?

Miles Lacey: Have you seen it? My first ever introduction to the R1 was a sneak picture sent to me before it was unveiled; I had to know what it was immediately. I was invited to test the R1 in winter with Supercar Driver, it was barely more than five degrees, so it was hardly scratching the surface of its potential performance, yet was still the fastest car on track. The test went well, I got the call to race for the season and the journey had officially begun.

Looking back at your races in the UK with the Praga R1, what were some standout moments that you’re particularly proud of?

ML: If you can race successfully in the UK, you can race anywhere and have a pretty strong chance of doing well globally. It’s cold, it rains, it rains a lot, and as such your competition is pretty sharp too. I’ll never forget racing at Silverstone Grand Prix in the two-hour endurance race. I’d trained hard as I knew it was going to be a huge challenge physically with the sustained high-G corners that suited the R1 perfectly. At around twenty minutes in, the weather changed from bright sunshine to torrential rain within the matter of a lap. Almost everyone dived into the pits for wets, but I took a huge gamble and stayed out on slicks, explaining to my engineer that I thought it would pass. For the next moments of the race, I called on every single ounce of experience and skill I had and carved my way through the grid to P1, balancing the car on what felt like sheet ice, gaining a 28 second lead. To this day I’ve never felt more alive and more connected with a car. The R1 and I were totally in sync and pushing the limits, lap after lap, in treacherous conditions. The team, the car and the stars were aligned, and that experience will live with me forever. Oh, and did I forget to mention Romain Grosjean presented me with the “Drive of the Season” award for that race? That must have slipped my mind…


Last year saw you make your Australian racing debut halfway through the season, on very short notice, without even a test day. How does it feel to be returning to Australia and the Praga Racing ANZ team for the 2024 season?

ML: Joining the Praga Racing ANZ team halfway through the season was a bag of mixed emotions; the opportunity to drive for them brought by Rick Campbell, Praga ANZ Team Principle, was quite literally a phone call to ask if I could get on a plane ASAP, and of course I said “yes”! Within a matter of days I was on a plane to the other side of the world, met the team, sat in the car to check the seat fit and hopped on another plane to Adelaide to race at The Bend in the Australian Prototype Series. The team was fantastic and welcomed me in, but with no time to waste we got to it and even managed a P2; I think Rick and I shared a tear after that race and for him to ask me back to drive for him in 2024 genuinely means a lot to me. Of course, it’s incredible to be returning to race with the same team and we want to demonstrate the raw speed of the R1 amongst other very fast cars in the series. The team and I can’t wait to unveil not only one but two cars this time round, whereby Ross Poulakis and I will be working together to keep the Pragas at the sharp end.

You’ve competed the Praga R1 in the Britcar Endurance Championship and Praga Cup UK. How does competing on the other side of the world in the Australian Prototype Series compare?

ML: Prototypes are popular in Australia and so the variety of cars on the grid is exciting. Each car delivers its lap time in different ways and as a result, the racing is a spectacle for the drivers and audience. And it’s dry…

Your first Praga race of this season will be at The Bend, where you competed in six sprint races last season. What’s this track like to drive and what is your strategy to stay ahead of the grid?

ML: The Bend is an exceptionally fast circuit with lots of high-speed corners that really switch the Praga on, the challenge is sustaining that speed as a driver for the entire race because the car is so fast round there. Strategy? Drive faster than the others.

How does the performance of the Praga R1 compare to other cars on the Australian Prototype Series grid and what unique qualities does it bring to the track?

ML: The R1 has a container ship full of aero to deploy which means we’re seriously fast in the high-speed turns and very strong on the brakes. The other cars aren’t as quick in the corners but have masses of power to hurl them down the straights, so the challenge is knowing how and when to capitalise on the Praga’s strengths.

Can you share any specific improvements or adjustments made to the Praga Racing ANZ R1 for the upcoming races, and how do you think they will enhance your performance on the track?

ML: The regulations are different for the APS meaning we can have a limited-slip differential which helps with traction. The car is also set up to be much stiffer in Australia which took a little time to adjust to. The result is your average speed over a lap is faster and more physical, which as a driver is just exactly what we want. It feels like a race car!

Motorsport is a challenging sport with plenty of opportunity for both heartache and victory. How do you approach each race mentally and emotionally, and how does your relationship with the car play a role in your mindset on race day?

ML: Motorsport compares to no other environment I’ve operated in before, the difference between winning and losing is sometimes down to the smallest detail. Having raced the R1 for a number of years now, I feel I know it well and to me what matters most is trusting your team and equipment. Praga Racing ANZ know what is possible with R1, as do I. We go into each race with the same enthusiasm as the last, even when the deck isn’t stacked in our favour, that’s what you have to do as a team.

Looking ahead to the upcoming races in Australia, what are your goals and aspirations for the season, both as an individual driver and as part of the Praga Racing ANZ team?

ML: We’re fighting for wins and podiums of course and with that comes championships. Having two cars in the team increases our presence on the grid across the motorsport scene in Australia and this has been our goal from the start.

Finally, where else would you like to drive/race the R1?

ML: It’s a lifelong dream to race at Bathurst which the team has done before now with great success; knowing what the Praga can do I’ve every reason to believe it would be offensively fast round there. This may seem slightly awry, but Yas Marina is also on the list, a race at night in the R1 would be fairly epic, I imagine.


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