Praga Cars announces expansion plans including dedicated race category and new R1 race car
Praga Cars has revealed the first steps in an ambitious expansion programme beginning with the appointment of ex-BMW and McLaren Automotive executive Mark Harrison to head up the newly formed Praga Cars UK.
Praga has made the strategic decision to increase its presence in the UK, a key motorsport market, through the creation of Praga Cars UK. Harrison, who also leads commercial operations globally for Praga Cars, will initially oversee the launch of the new, fifth generation, all-carbon R1 racing car. Alongside news of the new car, Praga Cars has also agreed with Britcar a new all-Praga category within the 2021 Endurance championship. At least 10 cars are already committed to the series, providing a strong grid and competitive multi-class racing for Praga owners and guest drivers that will pave the way for a one-make series in 2022.
Details of the fifth generation R1 will be revealed at Silverstone’s MotorsportDays Live in November. The car that has won four of the five Britcar Endurance races this season will feature a larger fuel cell, revised aero package, improved safety features and enhanced driver adjustment to make it even better suited to endurance racing and even more attractive to racing drivers and team owners.
Ex-SAS adventurer and explorer Jay Morton was recently announced as part of the new line-up of high-profile guest drivers that will make their debut next year at the wheel of the new Praga R1. More drivers are set to be announced in the coming weeks, from a variety of backgrounds, but all with one thing in common – a desire to join a winning team and take on the challenge of a full aero car that can take on and beat prototypes and GT cars.
Ahead of the launch of the new R1, Praga Cars UK has also recommitted to UK dealer and racing services provider VR Motorsport. The Manchester-based team led by Vincent Randall introduced the R1 to the UK and now plans to expand its operations in 2021 as it looks to double its network of mechanics and race technicians to support Praga’s ambitions.
Mark Harrison, Managing Director at Praga Cars UK said: “Praga Cars is an exciting place to be right now, evidenced by the new customers and guests we have already secured for 2021. We have exciting expansion plans within the UK and globally, and it’s a genuine team effort. With VR Motorsport we have built a strong, race-winning platform in Britcar and a good relationship with the organisation’s management. I am really pleased that, together with Vincent Randall, we have agreed this exciting 2021 plan with Claire Hedley at Britcar. The dedicated Praga category will lead to exciting racing and a great spectacle for racegoers as well as a platform for a one-make series in 2022.”
Claire Hedley, Managing Director at Britcar said: “Britcar has been the UK’s premier Endurance championship for nearly 20 years, and has a rich history of launching the careers of many teams and drivers into global endurance racing success. Also renowned for introducing categories and initiatives that both pre-empt and respond to current trends and demands from manufacturers and the endurance racing fraternity, Britcar has introduced the Trophy category for this seaon, and following it’s resounding success, we are really excited to be launching another new category in 2021. In partnership with Praga Crars and VR Motorsport, Britcar will host a significant grid of Praga R1s, complementing the existing Endurance championship, and providing, within a competitive environment, a foundation to the marque’s progression into international endurance racing.”
Vincent Randall, Owner at VR Motorsport said: “We have achieved a huge amount of success with Praga over recent years, both commercially and on track and I am delighted to be continuing to work with them in this exciting period. The plans that Praga has are very impressive and we are starting to see it come together. We are expanding our operations, both in terms of workforce and infrastructure, to complement Praga’s growth and are looking forward to another successful season together in 2021.”