SEAT will make its come-back to International motorsport next year by entering the European Touring Car Championship (ETCC), a racing series organised by the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) which is attracting interest from some of the world’s most prestigious car manufacturers.
SEAT Sport’s two Toledos will be driven respectively by the Spanish driver Jordi Gené (32), who has a wide-range of experience in these series, and a young German driver, Frank Diefenbacher (20), a promising star of Germany’s current racing scene.
"Of all the different international championships, the ETCC is most in line with SEAT’s targets," says Winfried Burgert, President of SEAT Sport and Vice-President of R&D at SEAT. "The races are run with cars which are close to road cars and held in Europe, where SEAT’s main markets are located. Another plus is that the ETCC is given excellent television coverage as it is included in Eurosport’s Racing Weekends."
Developed entirely by SEAT Sport for the Super Touring class, the ETCC Toledo has a 2-litre 260bhp atmospheric engine, coupled to a 6-speed sequential gearbox. Transmission is front-wheel drive and the car weighs 1,140 kg.
"The Toledo was chosen mostly because of its excellent aerodynamics, which give it the highest top-speed of the whole SEAT range of models - a crucial issue in racing," explains Jaime Puig, SEAT Sport’s Motorsport and Technical Director. "We have also shortened development time, as the Toledo shares modular technology with the León. As we know León is an excellent performer in racing, thanks to our SEAT León Supercup, held with the Cupra R version, which was also developed and produced at SEAT Sport."
The first race of the 2003 ETCC will be held in Spain, on 5 April in the Circuit de Catalunya (Barcelona), and it will be followed by Magny Cours, France (April 26-27); Zandvoort, The Netherlands (May 10-11); Brno, Czech Republic (May 24-25); Donington Park, United Kingdom (June 28-29); Spa, Bélgium (July 26-27); Anderstorp, Sweden (September 6-7); Oschersleben, Germany (September 20-21); Estoril, Portugal (October 4-5) and Monza, Italy (October 18-19).Published 14 December 2002