SEAT Cupra

Last updated
SEAT Cupra
TypeSubsidiary of SEAT S.A.
Industry Automotive
PredecessorSEAT Special Vehicles department
Founded1985 (as SEAT Sport)
2018 (as Cupra)
Headquarters Abrera, Catalonia, Spain
ProductsPerformance cars and racing cars
Parent Volkswagen Group
Website www.cupraofficial.com

SEAT Cupra, S.A.U., known by the brand name Cupra and formerly known as SEAT Sport is the high-performance motorsport subsidiary of the Spanish automobile manufacturer SEAT, founded in 1985, [1] succeeding the "SEAT Special Vehicles department" which had been formed in 1971 with the mission to enforce the brand's participation in rally championships, followed by 11 titles between 1979 and 1983. [2] It has competed in rallying and touring car racing, and also develops high performance versions of road cars. The result of this effort has been rewarded through SEAT's most prestigious titles in FIA championships, three conquests with the SEAT Ibiza Kit-Car in the FIA 2L World Rally Championship (WRC) (1996, 1997, 1998) and two times with the SEAT León in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) (2008, 2009). [3]

Contents

In 2018 SEAT created the Cupra brand as its independent high-performance branch and SEAT Sport was officially replaced by Cupra Racing. [4]

Rallying

SEAT Cordoba WRC SEAT Cordoba WRC.jpg
SEAT Cordoba WRC

SEAT's first serious attempt at a World Rally Championship (WRC) was in the 1977 season when the company took part with its 'SEAT 1430/124D Especial 1800' race car, and in its debut at the Monte Carlo Rally the SEAT team finished in third and fourth place with the official 1430-1800 cars being driven by Antonio Zanini and Salvador Cañellas. In recent years the consignment was burdened on the small SEAT Ibiza, a 1.6L normally aspirated front-wheel drive car with its roots in the Volkswagen Polo. The Ibiza allowed the company to start building its rallying experience, and was officially engaged in some European national championships. The years went by and little success followed until a 2L version of the Ibiza was homologated as a kit-car, and extra wide tracks, larger wheels, brakes, etc., were fitted to it as the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) kit-car regulations allow. With these attributes, the car won the 2L World Championship three times ('96, '97, '98).

SEATs three conquests of the 2L FIA title, and the sport's popularity in Spain, convinced Volkswagen Group management to go further, and allocate sufficient budgets to the SEAT Sport department so as to allow it a chance to reach its goal. SEATs project to build a WRC-spec car was officially announced during the 1997 San Remo rally. It was in 1998 that the SEAT Córdoba WRC was first enrolled by the company to compete at the highest level of WRC racing. The Córdoba was based on the family saloon of the same name but was, naturally, a WRC class car. It had a 4 cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, permanent four-wheel drive, and active differentials were involved in its transmission. However, the short wheelbase and high-mounted engine (compared to its rivals) worked against the Córdoba, and results weren't impressive. The main drivers were ex-WRC champion Didier Auriol, along with Harri Rovanpera and rising Finnish star Toni Gardemeister. They did achieve three podium finishes; at the 1999 Rally New Zealand (Gardemeister), the 1999 Rally of Great Britain (Rovanpera) as well as the 2000 Safari Rally (Auriol). SEAT pulled out of international rallying at the end of 2000.

WRC Results

YearCarNoDriver1234567891011121314WDCPointsWMCPoints
1998 Seat Cordoba WRC 9 Flag of Finland.svg Harri Rovanperä MON SWE KEN POR ESP FRA ARG GRC NZL FIN
11
ITA
Ret
AUS
11
GBR
6
15th*3*5th1
10 Flag of Spain.svg Oriol Gómez MON SWE KEN POR ESP FRA ARG GRC NZL FIN
Ret
-0
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Marc Duez ITA
16
AUS
Ret
-0
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Gwyndaf Evans GBR
Ret
-0
1999 Seat Cordoba WRC 9 Flag of Finland.svg Harri Rovanperä MON
7
SWE
16
KEN
6
POR
Ret
ESP
14
FRA
13
ARG
Ret
GRE
Ret
NZL
Ret
9th105th23
Seat Cordoba WRC Evo2 FIN
5
CHN
5
ITA
16
AUS
6
GBR
3
Seat Cordoba WRC 10 Flag of Italy.svg Piero Liatti MON
6
SWE KEN
Ret
POR
Ret
ESP
10
FRA
9
ARG
Ret
GRE
Ret
23rd1
Seat Cordoba WRC Evo2 CHN
Ret
ITA
16
Seat Cordoba WRC Flag of Finland.svg Marcus Grönholm SWE
Ret
15th*5*
Flag of Finland.svg Toni Gardemeister NZL
3
13th*6*
Seat Cordoba WRC Evo2 FIN
6
AUS
16
GBR
Ret
Seat Cordoba WRC Evo2 16 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Gwyndaf Evans MON SWE KEN POR ESP FRA ARG GRE NZL FIN CHN ITA AUS GBR
Ret
-0
20 Flag of Finland.svg Toni Gardemeister MON SWE KEN POR ESP FRA ARG GRE CHN ITA
Ret
13th*6*
2000 SEAT Cordoba WRC Evo2 7 Flag of France.svg Didier Auriol MON
Ret
SWE
10
KEN
3
POR
10
ESP
13
ARG
Ret
GRC
Ret
NZL
Ret
12th45th11
SEAT Córdoba WRC Evo3 FIN
11
CYP
Ret
FRA
8
ITA
17
AUS
8
GBR
9
SEAT Cordoba WRC Evo2 8 Flag of Finland.svg Toni Gardemeister MON
4
SWE
Ret
KEN
Ret
POR
9
ESP
Ret
ARG
Ret
GRC
Ret
NZL
Ret
13th4
SEAT Cordoba WRC Evo3 FIN
Ret
CYP
Ret
FRA
11
ITA
Ret
AUS
6
GBR
12
SEAT Cordoba WRC Evo2 17 Flag of Finland.svg Harri Rovanperä MON SWE
12
KEN POR ESP ARG GRC NZL 9th*7*
SEAT Cordoba WRC Evo3 FIN CYP FRA ITA AUS GBR
10
SEAT Cordoba WRC Evo3 20 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Gwyndaf Evans MON SWE KEN POR ESP ARG GRC NZL FIN CYP FRA ITA AUS GBR
Ret
-0
2001 SEAT Cordoba WRC Evo3 - Flag of Spain.svg Marc Blázquez MON SWE POR
16
ESP
Ret
ARG
Ret
CYP
Ret
GRC KEN FIN NZL ITA FRA AUS GBR 0-0
21 Flag of Spain.svg Salvador Cañellas Jr. MON SWE POR ESP
Ret
ARG CYP GRC KEN FIN NZL ITA FRA AUS GBR 0
24 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Gwyndaf Evans MON SWE POR ESP ARG CYP GRC KEN FIN NZL ITA FRA AUS GBR
Ret
0

Touring cars

In 2002 SEAT Sport set up the SEAT León Supercopa in Spain, a one-make series featuring the SEAT León. This format has since expanded across Europe, with the formation of the SEAT León Eurocup in 2008. In 2003, SEAT began entering the SEAT Toledo Cupra in the European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) with drivers Jordi Gené and Frank Diefenbacher. Former British Touring Car Championship winner Rickard Rydell joined them in 2004, taking their first victory.

Yvan Muller driving for SEAT Sport in Macau in the 2008 WTCC season. 2008 Y Muller Macau.JPG
Yvan Muller driving for SEAT Sport in Macau in the 2008 WTCC season.

WTCC

In 2005, the ETCC became the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). Peter Terting replaced fellow German Diefenbacher. Jason Plato also joined the team for four rounds, and Marc Carol for one round. Later in 2005, the León model made its debut.

In 2006, Gabriele Tarquini, Yvan Muller and James Thompson joined the team. André Couto, Oscar Nogués and Florian Gruber also raced in one-off rounds.

In 2007, Rydell, Thompson and Terting left the team and were replaced by Michel Jourdain Jr. and Tiago Monteiro. Terting and Rydell later made one-off appearances for the team, as did Nogués. Towards the end of the season SEAT debuted the TDi diesel version of the León.

In 2008, Jourdain left the team, as the team scaled down from a six-car to a five-car team. Yvan Muller won SEAT's first driver's championship in the WTCC and SEAT also won the manufacturers title.

In 2009, SEAT Sport continued with the same five drivers, with French team Oreca assisting with the operation. Gabriele Tarquini won SEAT's second in-a-row driver's championship in the WTCC and SEAT won the manufacturers title for a second consecutive year.

After winning two consecutive driver's and manufacturers titles, SEAT withdrew from the WTCC at the end of the 2009 season as a manufacturer-backed team. However, in January 2010, it was announced that they would provide backing to the newly formed SR-Sport team run by SUNRED Engineering, while also confirming Gabriele Tarquini, Jordi Gene, Tiago Monteiro and Tom Coronel as 2010 drivers, as Yvan Muller departed for the works Chevrolet team.

For 2012, SEAT announced that they will return to the WTCC Season as a Customer Supply team, SEAT Sport supplied engines in 2012 to the Lukoil Racing Team who run two 1.6T cars driven by veteran SEAT Driver Gabriele Tarquini and Aleksei Dudukalo. They also supplied 1.6T Engines to the Tuenti Racing Team who ran cars for Pepe Oriola and Fernando Monje, Tuenti Racing Team driver Tiago Monteiro ran a SEAT Sport TDI engine for the first weekend but then switched to a 1.6T engine supplied by SUNRED. Special Tuning Racing have run both a 1.6T engine and 2.0 TDI engine both supplied by SEAT Sport, Daryll O'Young has only used the 1.6T engine but Tom Boardman used the 2.0TDI from the start of the season till round 7. SUNRED engineering ran a SEAT Sport 2.0TDI engine at the start of the season in Andrea Barlesi's car but then switched to the SUNRED 1.6T engine from rounds 2-3.

Jason Plato driving for SEAT Sport UK at Oulton Park in the 2008 BTCC season. Jason Plato Oulton Park (Knickerbrook).JPG
Jason Plato driving for SEAT Sport UK at Oulton Park in the 2008 BTCC season.

BTCC

Between 2004 and 2008, SEAT Sport competed in the British Touring Car Championship, under the SEAT Sport UK banner. Jason Plato drove for the team for five years, while Rob Huff, James Pickford, Luke Hines, Darren Turner, James Thompson and WTCC regular Tom Coronel (as a one-off) also competed. Initially the cars were run by RML Group until they began concentrating on the Chevrolet WTCC project. Plato finished as championship runner-up in 2006 and 2007. In 2008 the TDi version was used, but reliability was a problem. Two teams continued to campaign petrol SEATs in the championship during 2009 with Adam Jones and series returnee Dan Eaves competitive for the Cartridge World Clyde Valley team, while Gordon Shedden drove for Clyde Valley for a couple of events before it withdrew, but he returned to drive a Leon for the Club Seat outfit.

In 2010, Tom Boardman drove a petrol SEAT Leon Under the team name Special Tuning UK with sponsorship from Club SEAT. Phil Glew joined Tom in a SEAT for one weekend at Silverstone racing under the team name of YourRacingCar.com but the car was run by Special Tuning UK.

In 2011, Boardman and Dave Newsham drove petrol SEATs under the team name Special Tuning Racing. Special Tuning Racing where not associated with SEAT Sport or SEAT Sport UK. Boardman came first in the third race at Knochill. [5]

Models

Current model range

Street models

Cupra Ateca Cupra Ateca at IAA 2019 IMG 0545.jpg
Cupra Ateca
Cupra Leon Sportstourer Cupra Leon Mk4 ST IMG 3665.jpg
Cupra Leon Sportstourer

Race cars

Discontinued models

SEAT 600 Abarth Seat 600 Abarth Fageca 2.jpg
SEAT 600 Abarth
SEAT 124 SEAT 124 race car.jpg
SEAT 124
SEAT Panda SEAT Panta sport.jpg
SEAT Panda
SEAT Toledo Marathon Seat Toledo Marathon vr TCE.jpg
SEAT Toledo Marathon
SEAT Toledo Mk2 SEAT Toledo Mk2 touring car.jpg
SEAT Toledo Mk2
SEAT Cupra GT SEAT Cupra GT cropped.jpg
SEAT Cupra GT

Some SEAT models of competition and special sporting versions are

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References

  1. SEAT Sport foundation "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-12-06. Retrieved 2012-02-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. SEAT motorsport 1970-1977 http://www.seat.com/com/generator/su/com/SEAT/site/company/SEATSport/main.html
  3. SEAT Sport history http://www.seat.com/com/generator/su/com/SEAT/site/company/SEATSport/main.html
  4. "CUPRA: a new brand is born" . Retrieved 2018-04-29.
  5. LeonOC News http://www.leonoc.com/?p=651