SEAT to enter the 2004 British Touring Car Championship
SEAT UK will have two official entries in the 2004 British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), driven by Jason Plato and Robert Huff. SEAT Sport will build two Toledo Cupra Rs at its headquarters in Martorell, near Barcelona, especially for the BTCC. The cars will be run and maintained throughout 2004 in the UK, with additional technical support from SEAT Sport's 2004 FIA European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) team.
Jason Plato was British Touring Car Champion in 2001 and the SEAT drive marks the 36-year old's return to the series. Robert Huff won the 2003 Holiday Inn SEAT Cupra Championship driving a Leon Cupra R, and the 23-year old Cambridgeshire driver is delighted that his prize of a works drive in the 2004 ETCC has been changed to a works drive in the BTCC.
Plato said: "I'm very excited about returning to the British Touring Car Championship and sparring with some old racing rivals again. It's great that SEAT UK is doing the BTCC next year because the series is going from strength to strength. It's good news too for the BTCC that a new and dynamic manufacturer will be involved in one of the world's premier saloon car championships."
Huff said: "It's much better for me to be doing the British Touring Car Championship rather than the European series because, with the exception of Mondello, I have already raced at all of the circuits. Jason has a lot of experience setting up and racing touring cars at the BTCC circuits, and that will benefit me as we'll be working very closely together as team-mates."
Scott Dennis, SEAT UK Motorsport Manager, said: "The BTCC next year takes SEAT to a new level of motorsport in the UK. The fact that the SEAT Cupra Championship is also on the TOCA Tour will give us a fantastic level of exposure throughout the year."
Hrmmm. Bit of a cop out this, because the prize for RR was supposed to be the ETCC and a tax free shagpad in Monaco was it not? I know which one I'd prefer after all, and it's a bit on the misleading side for the SEAT Cup contenders given the claims made to them pre season about the loftiness of the prize. And now, the eventual winner has effectively been stuffed into the BTCC, which is still an inferior championship despite what the harcore say IMO.
Huffy boy will still be getting a £30k salary for doing the BTCC - arguably an easier task for him as 9/10 rounds are on tracks he has learned already..
I wouldn't complain at that at all!! And I'm sure all drivers like to be at the front. Because the ETCC is one set of regs...SEAT would still be midfielders like they were this year. I have a feeling that the ETCC and BTCC cars next year will be very level with each other - somehow I reckon the 'true' performance levels of ETCC machines will never be known because if they are slower than the BTC cars they will lobby TOCA to get some weight off to go faster..
I agree with TL - the BTCC is going back to where it should be - the top Touring Car series in the world. Hopefully Rydell & Menu etc will return but there are many younger drivers out there raring to go for it.
I still hope Gordon Shedden can get himself sorted with a top BTCC drive at some point - he's already proved what he can so in the Focus a few years ago...
I might even take them up if they offer me a drive... ;D ;D
The problem with Gordon is that he's never really had a chance to show what he can do so people can't rate him! I personally think he's a great talent who just needs a chance - he aced the TOCA Fiestas and I'm sure no-one needs to be reminded what he managed to do with that Focus a couple of years back...
He may not be as in-your-face in his driving style as the likes of Hodgetts but then he stuffs it in the scenery far less whilst still bringing in the results - I can't imagine why he's never been snapped up... oh wait, money
Plus we saw him at almost all of the club meetings in 2003, which makes him a class act in my book. If I'm right, he's doing the Seat thing again next year - dunno if theres still a Touring Car style prize on offer but I'd say he must be a good shot at the title second time around.
"Bintcliffe's done it again and the car's f**ked." RIP David Leslie.