The running of the first SEAT Leon Eurocup championship is primed to get racing this coming May, as the one-make series continues the long-standing heritage that the Spanish manufacturer has established in both touring cars and rallying.
With 25 titles in both categories along with numerous victories and podiums, the era of SEAT’s competitive nature continues, as both diesel and petrol power have been used over the years, depending on the regulations that needed to be followed.
The manufacturer has built 450 Leon SuperCopas, whose numbers includes that of being sold to customer teams during its use over the past 12 years, which includes the WTCC and BTCC. Now in steps the new Leon Cup Racer that replaces it , and the time is now set for its maiden voyage this coming May. The car has been developed with the help of SEAT’s official test driver Jordi Gene, older brother of current Scuderia Ferrari and Audi Sport test driver Marc, whose experience ranges from touring cars to Le Mans.
This new chapter sees the new car closely resemble its road going cousin, with both cars being constructed on the versatile and adaptable VW Group MQB platform, but under the skin, the race car has a varied amount of differences that the drivers will have to master.
Firstly, there is the well-tested and reliable turbocharged 2-litre in-line 4-cylinder that produces 330bhp and delivers 400 Newton metres of torque. This engine will supply its heavily advanced power to the front wheels via its six-speed DSG gearbox, which is controlled by the paddles on the driver’s steering wheel.
The cars themselves weigh just 1,150kg, and feature a number of changes, which includes a prominent rear wing and a wider stance on track due to the bodywork modifications. The cars also sports 18-inch racing wheels and are fitted with a mandated FIA-homolgated roll cage that is required for international competition.
The inaugural season is already fully subscribed, with the drivers heading to some of the most recognized race tracks across Europe, as the famed Nürburgring starts the season on 2nd of May.
Drivers will take part in 90 minutes’ worth of track time for both practice and qualifying, with both races taking part in a sprint format and running up to a distance of between 50 and 60km. There is also attractive prize money for those on offer, as well as a social media prize for the teams and drivers.
The calendar looks as follows, with some legendary tracks that feature on the Formula One calendar set to test the drivers and the teams in the race for the title:
1. Nürburgring, Germany, 2-4 May
2. Salzburgring, Austria, 23-25 May
3. Silverstone Circuit, United Kingdom, 18-20 July
4. Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium 5-7 September
5. Autodromo di Monza, Italy, 26-28 September
6. Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain, 17-19 October
The final round at SEAT’s home venue will culminate in what will hopefully be a series that will encourage customer teams to get involved. This is as well as bringing racing a new lease of life through a championship that will provide an affordable opportunity to those that are looking for it.
Head of Seat Sport, Jaime Puig, stated that there had been a great response to the series itself, since being unveiled at the end of last year: “This is the next step of SEAT Sport’s ongoing commitment to providing our customers with high-value, high-technology and highly-competitive motorsport. Now, in announcing our very first calendar, including iconic circuits such as Spa and Monza, the countdown until the SEAT Leon Eurocup really begins.”
So with a championship that provides a good way to enter the motorsport ladder from a competition perspective, providing state-of-the-art technology at an affordable price, the new SEAT Leon EuroCup series could help bring racing to the masses and show the way forward for other automotive giants to make their way back.