The wait is over with this weekend (9/10 May) the start of an exciting new chapter in Irish motor racing with the introduction of the SEAT Supercup Ireland reaching fruition when it takes to the high speed Bishopscourt Racing Circuit in County Down. Despite only being announced 12-weeks ago, the draw of the 301bhp SEAT Sport factory built Leon Supercopas has attracted a quality field for the first double header weekend of the 10 round SEAT Ireland backed championship.
Ireland’s only manufacturer supported championship, the inaugural SEAT Supercup has enticed successful international one make series racer & multiple Irish saloon car champion Michael Cullen back to the domestic racing scene. Racing the Supervalu Killester supported Leon, Cullen reunits a very successful partnership with Ireland’s most successful race team Murray Motorsport. Also running the Winthrop backed car of Barry English, the Dublin based team will field three cars at the opening race with the addition of former Motorsport Ireland Young Racing Driver of the Year Niall Murray. The 20-year-old reigning Irish Formula Ford Champion will drive the eighth of the growing number of Supercopas to so far have arrived in the country. Another Motorsport Ireland Young Racing Driver of the Year Award winner on the grid is former A1 Grand Prix driver Niall Quinn. The talented 26-year-old Dunboyne driver, who made his name in single seaters, has adapted effortlessly to front wheel drive touring cars taking his Quinn Racing run Leon to victory recently when he debuted the car in the MicksGarage Irish Touring Car Championship.
Another young charger in the field determined to make his mark on his graduation to the SEAT Supercup is Northern Ireland’s James Turkington. The younger brother of British Touring Car Champion Colin Turkington, the 20-year-old Fiesta Champion has too enjoyed success behind the wheel of his Turkington Windows & Conservatories backed Leon winning an NI Saloons race at Kirkistown recently.
The driver to taste the most success so far with his SEAT, winning the opening two rounds of the ITCC at Mondello Park back in March, John Farrelly heads the two car Sean Woods Racing squad. Unfortunately family commitments mean for the opening weekend Farrelly’s team-mate Brian Berry will be absent from the grid.
An early driving force behind the establishment of a championship for the SEAT’s world renowned Leon Supercopa, former Irish Supercar Champion Rod McGovern will be a leading title contender in the Medical Banks backed car. Running once again under the MM Motorsport banner, the Mick Merrigan collaboration having brought titles in the past, McGovern has already proven his speed securing two pole positions and a win in ITCC outings when up against some of his SEAT Supercup rivals.
A track only visited once a year, the SEAT Supercup Ireland drivers will have just one 30-minute test session on Saturday morning to familiarise themselves with the Supercopa around the fast 2.136 mile long Bishopscourt International circuit. Running on Yokohama tyres, with the Japanese manufacturer sending a tyre technician to the event to support teams & drivers, qualifying takes place at 14:00 with pole position being awarded a bonus championship point. The first of the two races takes place at 11:00 on Sunday morning with Race 2 scheduled for 16:00.