Praga R1 drivers, Harrison and Hepworth, win 2020 Britcar Endurance Championship with VR Motorsport
Praga Cars with VR Motorsport won the 2020 Britcar Endurance Championship at this weekend’s Snetterton season finale. Champions Jem Hepworth and Danny Harrison piloted their Praga R1T Evo to a race win and a second place finish at the final round to take the championship by just five points ahead of the SB Race Engineering Ferrari 488 Challenge. They become the youngest ever winners of the championship.
With the championship going down to the wire, the final race of the season started on a dry track with dark clouds threatening. It wasn’t long before the rain began to fall with drivers trying to stay out for as long as possible in challenging conditions to allow them to change tyres during the mandatory pit-window. Despite a spin in the greasy conditions that saw Hepworth amongst the back-markers, her recovery and Harrison’s aggressive session on a drying track ensured their Praga R1T hauled in the leading cars to finish second behind the sister Praga of Jack Fabby and Garry Townsend, who took the victory in great style.
2020 marked the fourth Britcar campaign for Praga and VR motorsport. The Praga R1T Evo ‘art car’ piloted by Hepworth and Harrison was joined on the grid by Fabby and Townsend in a sister Praga R1T Evo and ex-servicemen Martyn Compton and Warren McKinlay in their normally aspirated Praga R1. The trio of Praga cars was competitive throughout the season, claiming qualifying pole position at each round and seven wins from nine races.
Mark Harrison, Praga Cars UK Managing Director, said: “Today’s result is one to really relish. With the ups and downs of 2020 for everyone, to go racing at all is an achievement, but to come away with an overall championship win is a testament to the talent and skill of all our drivers who are really enjoying driving the R1 and the race-winning performance that Praga offers. We will enjoy this result and look forward to seeing even more drivers going head-to-head next year in the dedicated Praga category in our fifth year in this championship.”
Vincent Randall, VR Motorsport Owner, said: “What a way to end the season. It is always exciting to have a championship come down to the wire and congratulations to Jem and Danny. VR Motorsport selected our 2020 driver pairings based on their team spirit, work ethic, and to ensure opportunities for a diverse group of racers. All of our drivers can be really proud of their achievements this season. With Praga, they have been competitive throughout the season and there’s no better way to welcome the new generation Praga for 2021 than signing off this year as champions.”
Danny Harrison said: “The championship hasn’t been easy. Although we have had five of the Praga out right wins, six fastest laps, and six pole positions, we only won by five points and it was all decided in the final race. I couldn’t have asked for a better team-mate than Jem. I am so pleased to share this win with our dedicated team who believed in our ability from the beginning: Fox Transport, Motorsportwoman, VR Motorsport and Praga Cars.”
Jem Hepworth said: “The championship win is an incredible achievement for me as a rookie, and for Motorsportwoman. The support for me to do well has been amazing. I feel fortunate to have driven the Praga R1T supported by an amazing team. It’s been the perfect car and an awesome weapon on track! The championship win is the icing on the cake and a great way to thank my sponsors and supporters for having faith in both of us, as a young driver pairing and me as a rookie coming back from an injury.”
Praga announced recently that it will mark its fifth season in the Britcar Championship next year with a significantly expanded grid of Praga R1s in a new dedicated Praga category. Confirmed drivers already announced include ex-SAS soldier Jay Morton, twin brothers Ed and Chris Bridle, and transgender racer and activist Charlie Martin, with more to be announced in due course.
They will race in the new Praga R1, which will feature numerous upgrades, to make it even safer, more adaptable, and with improved ownership benefits. The first details and price of the 2021 Praga R1 are due to be released at the now virtual MotorsportDays Live later this month.