Nissan GT-R power, less than 1,000kg and more than a million pounds – Praga enters the big leagues
By Matt Bird / Thursday, 24 November 2022 / Loading comments
If the modern supercar is too heavy, too big, and too common, the new Praga Bohema will be a breath of fresh air. It’s described by its Czech maker as a ‘high performance, low volume, beautifully appointed car… capable of extreme high performance on track targeting GT3 race car lap times on its semi slick Pirellis’. Which is an encouraging opening gambit.
Though only at the prototype stage for now, both the targeted aims and concrete details thus far are very, very serious. The Bohema will be powered by an evolution of the Nissan GT-R’s 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6; what better engine to tune for mega performance than the famously tweakable VR38DETT? Furthermore, it’s been upgraded by Litchfield – again, there’s nobody better to work on a GT-R engine. Stripped and converted to dry sump lubrication to get the mass lower, the Bohema should make 700hp and 535lb ft. Full race car cool is guaranteed with a Hewland sequential gearbox, which features a robotic clutch for a semi-automatic drive. Praga says that engine and gearbox are independent from the carbon chassis to prevent too much resonance and vibration. Despite the wild, almost Zonda-esque look, the Bohema is intended to fit two people as well as their luggage, the latter nestled in the side pods. It’s meant to be ‘comfortable and practical for head-turning road trips’, no less, and nobody wants to do that in a V6 tuning fork.
Best pack light, though. Praga is targeting a wet weight without fuel of 982kg, which is little more than half the weight of the GT-R with which it shares an engine. And while targeted weights are best treated with some circumspection, Praga does have history with featherweight construction – the R1 racer is less than 650kg. To best help that ambition, the Bohema is made from carbon fibre, around a carbon monocoque. Praga reckons the entire cockpit will weigh just 34kg and that there’s just 180kg of unsprung mass, for example. The latter is supported by horizontally mounted pushrod suspension. It’s said that magnesium alloys and titanium are used extensively, too. The brakes are ceramic, of course, and sit behind 18-inch centre-lock wheels at the front (19s at the rear). Should buyers wish, 18s can be fitted all round for compatibility with FIA GT3 spec rubber. If the standard Trofeo R isn’t sticky enough…
Naturally, downforce and aerodynamic performance has played a big part in the Bohema’s development. According to Praga, work in a F1 team’s wind tunnel has yielded more than 900kg of downforce at 155mph, with a top speed of just over 186mph. ‘Crucially, the car’s aerodynamically-inspired engineering has not eliminated elegant and intriguing designed bodywork to ensure the car looks fast, and looks good’, adds the press release.
Perhaps the most interesting information relating to the Bohema so far is Praga’s assertion that this really will be a usable road car. It speaks of a supple ride thanks to the suspension tune and light weight, the ability to seat a pair of two-metre-tall adults in air-conditioned comfort, a tow hook with an integrated rear facing camera, and mirrors on the non-structural front wings ‘to provide stylish and aerodynamic structures with excellent rear vision without vibration or obstruction’. There’s even interior storage, and a phone mount. It’s all most unfamiliar for a 700hp-per-tonne hypercar with a sequential gearbox. The removable steering wheel is said to be nothing less than ‘a work of art’.
Praga has employed Romain Grosjean as a development drive for the Bohema. “I was astonished by the Bohema’s amazing performance on track, its accessibility on road, and the ease of transition between the two,” he said. “Praga has truly delivered on my challenge! On the road, you get a smooth ride, the car eliminates the bumps, you can chat with the passenger, and everything is calm and OK. Then simply switch focus and you are on the track. The same clothes, the same car, but the feeling changes and you are pushing the limit and collecting amazing lap times again and again, discovering unbelievable possibilities in the Bohema. And we still have a few months to fine-tune the on-road compliance and on-track lap times!” Which does sound pretty cool, but then of course he’s going to say that.
There will be 89 Bohemas made, reflecting the 89 years since Praga won the 1933 1000 miles of Czechoslovakia road race. Having been in development for five years and now receiving sign off, Praga says we’ll see a production car in the first half of 2023. It plans on making 20 a year after next year (when it aims on building 10), with Bohemas available across the globe, from Australia to the USA. The price is £1.1m. Those in the UK that want one are in for more good news, too, as there’s a global brand centre for Praga opening in the UK next year. Expect more on the Bohema early in ‘23
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