SEAT UK motorsport manager Scott Dennis has paid tribute to his team following the announcement that SEAT is to withdraw from the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship at the end of the season.
Having joined the grid in 2004, SEAT soon established itself as a front-runner in the BTCC with a win of its debut being the first of 43 to date in the series – with drivers such as Jason Plato, Darren Turner, James Thompson and Rob Huff all taking victory in SEAT colours.
Plato and Turner have both played a part this year in SEAT creating history with the first ever diesel entry by a manufacturer, with the pair taking ten wins between them so far with only the season finale at Brands Hatch still to run.
The team has secured both the manufacturers' and teams' titles during its time in the BTCC, and while the drivers' crown proved to elusive, Dennis said the manufacturer had made its mark on the series during the past five years – and in the six years of competition in the SEAT Cupra Championship.
“There's no doubting that SEAT and SEAT Sport UK have made a huge impact on the British motorsport scene,” he said. “The SCC has proved to be a fantastic breeding ground for genuine talent - drivers that have gone on to participate at the highest level of touring car racing. We've made a big impression on the BTCC too, during our five seasons. 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.
“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 [team principals of Northern South] 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.”