Seat Cupra Championship


Seat Cupra Championship

The SEAT Cupra Championship was a one make series which ran as a support package to the British Touring Car Championship. The championship had been running since 2003 but joined the TOCA support tour a year later in 2004 where it continued until SEATs withdrawal of all motorsport involvement in the UK at the end of 2008. It was thought to be a chance for up and coming drivers to step up to the BTCC. Originally the prize for winning the championship was a drive for the Seat works team in the BTCC.Many drivers have gone on to do well in either the British Touring Car Championship or World Touring Car Championship. Past Names such as Rob Huff, Mat Jackson, James Pickford, Emmet O'Brien and Gordon Shedden mean that tin top fans keep a close eye on these cars and drivers for the next big racing talent.

The Cars

Cars driven were the Seat Leon Cupra. Engine sizes moved from a 1.8 L (first generation Cupra R) to the second generation Leon with a 2.0 L engine in 2007. The cars had four cylinder with a six speed gearbox. New prices for would be entrants were £40,000 plus VAT directly from Seat. Seat estimate the total budget for running a car to be between £60,000 to £100,000.

History

2003 Season

The Inaugural meeting for the Holiday Inn sponsored Seat Cupra Championship was held at the Croft Circuit, with a strong 17 car grid (including three female drivers). All cars were being prepared by one team to make racing more even. Stefan Hodgetts claimed the first ever victory. Eventual championship winner Rob Huff went on to win race two. Both these drivers would battle it out to the fifth and final championship meeting of the season at Thruxton along with Gordon Shedden who finished second, and Gavin Smith who came in fourth place behind Hodgetts. Huff's prize was a full works drive in the BTCC for Seat sport UK. A prize which launched a very successful career in the world of touring cars.

2004 Season

For the 2004 championship, drivers would get to race in front of Britains touring car fans as part of the support package for the BTCC. Followed by a final live on ITV meeting at Donington Park. Again, first prize would be a drive in the 2005 BTCC season. James Pickford and Gavin Smith shared wins in the first races at Brands Hatch. Tom Boardman and Gavin Smith run races 3 and 4 at Silverstone, giving Smith an early championship lead. But it was James Pickford who was consistently finishing in high positions including 2 more wins at Oulton Park and Croft who won a closely fought championship with 151 points.A late surge in the standings saw Oli Wilkinson finish second, just 5 points off Pickford with 146. Tom Boardman third with 133 points, Gordon Shedden fourth with 123 and Gavin Smith ended down in fifth with 98 points.

2005 Season

2005 saw the season have an expansion to 18 rounds compared to last years 12 rounds plus a new name, the Smartnav Seat Cupra Championship. Another change was the addition of cars from other teams. This was Tom Boardmans year making a good start to the season winning both opening rounds at Donington and going on to get 7 race wins in total for the year. Mat Jackson got a total of 8 wins including some superb performances at Snetterton and Knockhill. In the end he was just playing catch up to the more consistent finishing of Boardman, who won overall on 260 points. Jackson finished in second on 245 points. third was Tom Ferrier on 219 points, fourth was Carl Breeze on 191 points and fifth was Alan Blencowe who finished on 116. Unlike the previous years, first prize was not a drive for next year but a cheque for £100,000.

2006 Season

Despite the Seat Cupra champion Tom Boardman not getting the works drive for 2005, the rules remained unchanged meaning he was not allowed to stay and defend his title. There was still a healthy grid with 22 entrants for 2006 and a new sponsorship deal with Blaupunkt. It was Mat Jackson, who carried on his good form and show of ability by winning the first three races. He went on to dominate the championship winning 11 out of the 18 rounds. With a lot of new faces for 2006, the nearest any one got to Mat' total of 273 points was Alan Blencowe with 225. Following them in the final points standing were new boys, Jonathan Adam in third with 218 points, Fulvio Mussi in fourth with 169 points and Ben Winrow in fifth with 166 points. Again the champions prize was a cash sum of £100,000. With this money Mat Jackson bought the WTCC winning car used by Andy Priaulx to enter his own Jackson Motorsport team as an independent in the BTCC for 2007.

2007 Season

This year saw a restructioning of the championship, with the introduction of the new model Seat Leon. This created a two tier system incorporating the new cars with the old ones running in a Cupra R class. A total 28 registered drivers had entered.The championship was dominated by Scottish driver Jonathan Adam winning 9 of the 20 races. An exciting first race of the year saw a win for Carl Breeze with Adam right behind him at the line. A good start to race 2 and a very comfortable victory for Adam followed. His impressive driving continued, winning 4 out of the next 6 at Rockingham, Thruxton and Croft. One of the more interesting meetings were rounds 11 and 12 at Donnington, where the drivers were greeted with terrible weather conditions. Victims included Carl Breeze and Oli Wilkinson. The race was red flagged and restarted, but by round 12 we had a very depleted grid of 14 cars. Champion Adam ended the season on a huge total of 302 points. Fulvio Mussi was half a point ahead of third placed [Carl Breeze with 204.5 and 204 respectively. Behind them were Neil Waterworth fourth with 177.5 points and Daniel Welch ending the season strong to finish fifth with 153.5 points. The Leon Cupra R class was won by Harry Vaulkhard with 267 points. Ian Churchill second on 263 points ahead of older brother Adrian Churchill on 248.5 points. Freddy Nordstrom was fourth with 222 points and Mike Doble fifth with 171.5 points.

Previous Champions

{| class="wikitable" style="text-align:center"
+Previous Champions
-!width="85"|Year!width="140"|Driver!width="160"|Team!width="85"|Points
-
2003 || Rob Huff || Northern South || 122
-
2004 || James Pickford || Northern South || 151
-
2005 || Tom Boardman || Special Tuning UK || 265
-
2006 || Mat Jackson || Jackson Motorsport || 273
-
2007 || Jonathan Adam || Total Control Racing || 309
-
2007 Cupra R || Harry Vaulkhard || Volkis Boozers/Triple R || 267
-
2008 || || ||
-


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