Meet the Praga R1R: An Insane Road-Legal Race Car You Probably Never Heard About

Most established manufacturers spend a lot of time and money to bring racecar technologies to their road-legal sports cars, but this small Czech carmaker went the opposite way. It stripped the decals of its superlight racer, added a few necessary features, and unleashed the mad R1R on public roads.
Praga R1R 6 photos
Photo: Praga
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If you never heard about Praga, you are not alone. Although it was founded in 1907, the company based in the Czech Republic’s capital city built its last road-going vehicle more than 70 years ago.

It shifted its focus to trucks and armored vehicles in the 1950s, and in 1964 its factories were recommissioned to produce transmission components for Czechoslovak-manufactured trucks, removing Praga from the world of automotive manufacturers for the next 30 years.

In the ’90s the company started making motocross and enduro bikes while also reviving its truck production. A couple of decades later, it started building race cars, introducing the GT3-spec R4S in 2011 and the crazy LMP-style R1 a year later.

Praga R1R and R1
The success of the R1 encouraged the carmaker to develop its first road-going car after a 68-hiatus, and in 2015, the R1R was shown to the public for the first time.

Weighing only 670 kg (1,477 lbs), the car uses a carbon-fiber monocoque chassis, with most of the exterior panels being made from the same material.

The teardrop cabin and the impressive bodywork make it extremely aerodynamically efficient, generating more downforce than its actual weight at speeds of over 200 kph (124 mph).

In theory, this means the R1R can be driven upside down, but in practice, it makes cornering at high speeds terrifyingly fun.

Praga R1R
Photo: Praga
Power comes from a mid-mounted Renault Sport 2.0-liter F4R turbocharged inline-four that can deliver between 330 and 390 hp (246-291 kW) to the rear wheels, depending on the customer’s setup.

The powerplant is mated to a race-spec six-speed Hewland JFR sequential semi-automatic gearbox that uses a centrifugal clutch weighing just 34 kg (75 lbs) thanks to its aluminum casing.

For the suspension, the R1R uses the same inboard pushrod-operated system with Koni dampers as its race-spec counterpart, but the setup has been altered to suit a variety of road conditions.

To make it fully road legal, engineers strengthened the front and rear crash boxes, added dual bulb headlights and taillights, reshaped the top air tunnel and rear wing while also modifying the seat to make it more comfortable.

Praga R1R
This brings us to the interior that can be described as the Achilles of this insane machine. It only features minor changes from the R1 racer, making it a bit impractical.

It comes with a single seat as standard, although a second one can be added to squeeze a passenger in the tiny cabin. Getting into the driver’s seat is not an easy task, especially if you’re a taller person, as the car’s doors are tiny, to say the least.

But once you’re in there, the feeling of driving the R1R is unparalleled, Praga promises. All its shortcomings can be easily forgotten after a few quick laps, and you don’t have to get out and change cars to get home.

The Praga R1R was produced from 2015 in only 68 units, which were unfortunately sold a long time ago for a starting price of around $210,000. The track-only version is still being produced, and it's available in the U.S. through Florida-based Fellner Motorsport LLC.
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About the author: Vlad Radu
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Vlad's first car was custom coach built: an exotic he made out of wood, cardboard and a borrowed steering wheel at the age of five. Combining his previous experience in writing and car dealership years, his articles focus in depth on special cars of past and present times.
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