After impressing with its stylish and well-rounded Leon hatchback, SEAT is aiming to prove its motorsport credibility with this, the Leon Cup Racer.
Based on the five-door Leon, the Cup Racer wears an aggressive aerodynamic package including a large rear spoiler, heavily flared side sills and a jutting front splitter.
It’s wide, squat stance comes courtesy of a massive 40cm wider track and wheel-arch filling 18-inch alloy wheels.
Despite the changes, the Cup Racer maintains some links to the road car on which it’s based, including its full LED headlamps.
Inside, however, it bears little resemblance to the normal Leon. Stripped out for lightness, only the basic dash structure remains. All of the ancillary controls have been moved to the racing steering wheel for ease of use and the dials have been swapped for a high-resolution TFT display.
Under the bonnet the Cup Racer packs a 325bhp turbocharged petrol engine which transmits its power to the road through a six-speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox. A special variant design for endurance racing replaces this with a traditional sequential racing gearbox.
It’s on sale now to privateer teams, costing from €70,000 (£58,936) excluding VAT. It is prepared to comply with a number of race series worldwide.
The Cup Racer also gives the best indication of what a SEAT touring car entrant may look like.
It will be revealed at the annual VW celebration festival in Worthersee, an event that traditionally sees the unveiling of other madcap Volkswagen Group creations, such as the Bentley-engined Golf GTI in 2007. It will be shown alongside a racing version of the smaller SEAT Ibiza.
Dr. Matthias Rabe, SEAT executive vice-president for research and development, said: “Motorsport is deeply anchored in our brand; SEAT has more than 40 years of racing history and, with the Leon Cup Racer, we are now writing the next chapter for our highly motivated customer teams. The Cup Racer is not a show model, but the first test car for our development work.”