The British Touring Car Championship suffered a big blow today as SEAT announced that they are leaving the series at the end of 2008. The Spanish manufacturer says that the budget previously spent on the BTCC program will be spent on “enhancing SEAT’s sporty and stylish image through other marketing activities.”
“There’s no doubting that SEAT and SEAT Sport UK have made a huge impact on the BTCC during our five seasons,” said SEAT Sport UK boss Scott Dennis.
“Our roll call of drivers, Rob Huff, James Thompson, Luke Hines, James Pickford and Tom Coronel, as well as current duo Darren Turner and Jason Plato, have helped secure the 2006 Manufacturers’ Trophy, the 2007 Teams’ Trophy, as well as the first ever win for a diesel car in the 50-year history of the Championship with this year’s Leon TDI.”
SEAT joined BTCC in 2004 and has since then won 43 races, making them the sixth most successful manufacturer together with Jaguar in the history of BTCC.
“Of course, the SEAT Sport UK team has been essential in securing these successes, and I’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed. In particular I’d like to thank Grant Clearwater and Ian Fisher (of Northern South Limited – who run the Leon TDIs) for their unwavering professionalism throughout our relationship with them.”
“I’d also like to thank Jason and Darren for their commitment to SEAT Sport UK. Jason in particular has been a consistent strength of the team from our first season in 2004, as well as a front runner in both this and last year’s season. Like all of the other SEAT BTCC drivers, he and Darren have also been great brand ambassadors.”