From our early domination on the Spanish rally scene in the 70s through to our current support for the BTCC and Tom Boardman, we can't get enough motorsport thrills. And our high-powered racing history goes way back.
In 1985, we founded SEAT Sport, a special department within the SEAT group focusing exclusively on motorsport. Under director Jaume Puig, SEAT Sport developed the most turbo charged vehicles in the SEAT range, competing in top league race competitions.
The five pilots of Team SEAT were Jordi Gene (Spain), Tiago Monteiro (Portugal), Yvan Muller (France), Rickard Rydell (Sweden) and Gabriele Tarquini (Italy) - plus the independent Dutch pilot Tom Coronel. In 2008 that Team SEAT made history by claiming both the manufacturers' and drivers' title. But how did we get to the top?
Buckle up for a race back in time to find out.
2010 - It's been a big year for SEAT, with Club SEAT supporting BTCC driver Tom Boardman in his first season back in the UK. With seven different makes, nine models on the grid and 120 hours of coverage on ITV, the 2010 season was one of the most exciting yet!
2009 - A YEAR OF UNPRECENDENTED SUCCESS
The championship ream returned to the WTCC to reign supreme in the Leon TDI - winning both the manufacturers' title and the drivers title - for the second year in a row! This legendary triumph announced to the world, Team SEAT is truly unstoppable.
2008 - Team SEAT made history, winning the WTCC manufacturers' title for the first time. And powered by a diesel engine! Our unbeatable fleet of SEAT Leon TDI WTCCs took the unprecedented win - while Yvan Muller won the drivers' championship.
2007 - Muller made history, coming first in his SEAT Leon TDI at a WTCC race in Oschersleben - the first time a diesel car has won an FIA world championship race!
2006 - Our best season to that date as runners-up in the WTCC - bettered only by BMW.
The World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) was created. SEAT participated with the SEAT Toledo CUPRA, finishing third. Also in 2005, the 4th edition of the SEAT Leon Supercopa put the event on the motoring competition calendar with the first ever SEAT Leon Supercopa European Masters meeting.
2004 - Our official race team saw an excellent season in the European Touring Car Championship (ETCC), taking third place with a SEAT Toledo CUPRA.
2003 - Playing an important role in international race competitions, we joined the ETCC at the helm of the SEAT Toledo CUPRA.
2003 - The second edition of the SEAT Leon Supercopa was a momentous event, with more than 100,000 spectators.
2002 - SEAT Sport organised the single brand racing trophy SEAT Leon Supercopa in Spain. The event was held with 250 hp versions of the SEAT Leon CUPRA R.
2001 - SEAT Sport entered the Spanish Asphalt and Gravel Rally Championship, involving the two official teams of the Spanish brand: Telefonica MoviStar and SEAT Repsol YPF. In the first rally, Telefonica MoviStar driver Salvador Canellas took second place. Weeks later, Marc Blazquez, official driver of SEAT Repsol YPF, made his debut in the World Rally Championship (WRC), in the Cordoba WRC. He finished the Portugal Rally - a big achievement considering only 25% of participants get to the finishing line. Soon after, Canellas landed 6th place after the first leg in the Cataluna-Costa Brava Rally, while Blazquez stepped up on the podium in almost every asphalt race and finished overall runner up in the Spanish Asphalt Rally Championship. Canellas reached the top podium in Lleida, finished second in the Murcia Rally and came third in Valencia. Blazquez, proving he too could drive on asphalt, finished second at the Salou and Rias Baixas Rallies.
2000 - Most notably, the team played a strong role in Kenya, the calendar's hardest rally, where we led the World Rally Championship (WRC) with the SEAT Cordoba WRC. In Finland, the third evolution of the car, the E3, launched. At the end of the year, SEAT Sport announced a new direction in focus from exclusively motorsport towards the production of limited editions of our top performance vehicles - like the 225hp/165kw SEAT Leon CUPRA R.
1999 - Piero Piatti and Harri Rovanpera won their first scratch of the WRC in their SEAT Cordoba WRCs at the most renowned Montecarlo Rally lap, the Turini Col. Rovanpera was the fastest at the Channel 4 Rally in Finland with the E2. Toni Gardemeister got the first podium at the New Zealand Rally - also in a SEAT Cordoba WRC. And the first generation of the SEAT Cordoba WRC made its debut in Finland and won first point in the UK's RAC Rally!
1998 - The SEAT Ibiza Kit-Car won the third consecutive FIA 2l World Rally Championship (WRC) title with drivers Harri Rovanpera, Oriol Gomez, Toni Gardemeister, Jorgen Jonasson and Gwyndaf Evans.
1997 - SEAT Sport won the FIA 2l WRC. The second edition of the SEAT Ibiza Kit-Car, the EVO2, made its debut at the Spanish Rally and triumphed at the Argentina Rally with a double-win in its class. From this point on, SEAT Sport won every race, with eight consecutive wins in Italy, Indonesia and New Zealand and the RAC rallies.
1996 - SEAT Sport faced its most important challenge ever in the FIA 2l WRC with the first generation of the SEAT Ibiza Kit-Car. After finishing eight rallies with various results we became FIA 2l World Rally Champion at the RAC Rally of Great Britain. It's the first time we participated in the WRC, and victory was obtained in the last race of the season: a feat no other brand has ever attained before.
1995 - After 18 years away from the World Championship, SEAT Sport made a comeback with the Ibiza 1.8 16V group A. Driven by German pilot Erwin Weber, it finished third among 2WD class cars at the Portugal Rally. In Greece's Acropolis Rally, we achieved a historic double-win with Weber and Rius in first and second position of their class. The Ibiza 16V Cup was inaugurated.
1994 - It's a year of success for the SEAT Toledo Marathon. We took part in the Off Track World Rally Cup, with German driver Weber taking second place at the Baja de Portugal, and third place at the Baja Espana. The other SEAT Toledo Marathon driven, by Jose Ma Servia, came fourth. Another significant event for SEAT Sport was the Greece Raid where Servia finished second with the Toledo Marathon.
1993 - A year of economic crisis had an obvious effect on sports car races. Our efforts focused on supporting and enhancing the SEAT Marbella Cups, in their 7th edition, as well as national races.
1992 - After six years of research we designed a high competition vehicle, the SEAT Toledo Marathon - a vehicle equipped for the most challenging tracks. It made its debut at the Baja Portugal in 1993, driven by Jose Ma Servia.
1991 - SEAT Sport continued representing V W Motorsport and Audi Sport on the racetrack. Rius won the Cordoba Rally and the RACE Rally, while Jose Ma Servia won the Mijas Rally and took the Spanish Raid Championship title for the second time.
1990 - The SEAT Marbella Proto raced in the National Track Championship. Antonio Rius ran for V W in the asphalt rallies with a Golf G60, while Jose Ma Servia came first in the Spanish Raid Cup with an Audi Coupe Quattro Raid developed by SEAT Sport.
1989 - JoseMa Servia won the two-wheel drive class in the first edition of the Spanish Raid Cup. In the Spanish Rally on Track Championship, Antonio Rius won - also in the two-wheel drive class - at the wheel of the Marbella Proto. International motorcycle champions Alex Criville, Joan Garriga and Jordi Tarres drove the Marbella Proto at various promotional races.
1988 - SEAT Sport took part in the Spanish Asphalt Championship with the V W Golf GTI group A and the SEAT Marbella Proto. We also raced the National Track Championship with the SEAT Ibiza twin-engine. While the Ibiza twin-engine ended its life cycle with an absolute victory, Servia won the two-wheel drive class with his V W Golf GTI Safari in the International Baja de Aragon.
1987 - SEAT Sport sent two official teams to the starting line of two Spanish Rally Championships: asphalt and track. Our drivers were brothers Salvador and Jose Ma Servia. Salvador commenced a year of success behind the wheel of a V W Golf GTI, winning the prestigious Costa Brava Rally. At the end of the year Salvador came second in the Spanish Championship. Meanwhile, Jose Ma won several rallies with the Ibiza Bimotor (twin-engine), one of our major developments.
1985 - Changes in our brand's priorities meant motorsport activities slowed down in 1980. In 1985, we returned to the arena, creating the SEAT Sport department. We began rally racing in Spain with our own 4-wheel drive. Without the resources to develop a sophisticated 4-wheel-drive transmission, we fit two engines into an Ibiza (in the front and rear), transmitting power from each to one set of axles. Our first 4-wheel drive won several rallies in Spain in 1986 and 1987. Soon after, we returned to front-wheel drive and came out top of our class in the Spanish Rally Championship with the tiny SEAT Marbella.
1976 and 1979 - Our pilot Antonio Zanini came second in the European Championship races.
1977 - We won the Manufacturers Trophy in the prestigious Monte Carlo Rally, where our pilot Zanini came third and Canellas fourth.
1972 - The Rally Championship ended with Canellas' title - and marked the beginning of a long list of titles in the Spanish Rally Championship, a championship that ended in 1978.
1971 - We created the Special Vehicles department - a unit formed especially for participating in racing competitions the following year. The first team of pilots was Salvador Canellas and Jorge Babler. The first victory? 1972, in the RACE Rally, with Canellas driving a SEAT 124-1600 TC. It marked the beginning of a period of SEAT domination in the Spanish rallying scene. Between 1973 and 1979 we participated in 104 rallies, won 39 and made a total of 96 podiums. In regional championships we won 250 times and made over 750 podiums. In the Touring Class championships, we took 11 titles between 1979 and 1983.
1970 - SEAT moved into motorsport, creating a racing formula for the Spanish circuits - the Formula Nacional, or later on the Formula 1430. The Formula Nacional gave young Spanish drivers access to races with single-seater racing vehicles equipped with the engine of the SEAT 1430 and a SEAT 6700 gearbox. The successful first race took place at the Jarama circuit in Madrid, with a lineup of 27 cars. Today, the SEAT 1430 is also known as 'The Rally Taxi', as the model is often used as a taxi in Spain.