Karting star John Norris, veteran saloon car racer Mervyn Miller and former ASCAR racer Malcolm Clein sampled SEAT Sport’s Leon Supercopa at Mondello Park yesterday (Wednesday). Organised by inaugural SEAT Supercup Ireland Champion team Murray Motorsport, all three drivers attended the test to evaluate racing in the 12 round 2016 SEAT Supercup Ireland. With rain showers meaning a damp first outing, a second run in the 301Bhp SEAT on a drying track left all three drivers full of praise for the factory built cars.
A factory Tony Kart driver, racing for Grand Prix winner Ralf Schumacher’s KSM Racing team, Norris was very complimentary of the car. His first time to get behind the wheel of the front wheel drive race car, Norris described the experience as ‘surprisingly nice’. ‘Very comfortable’ with the car despite track conditions the 23-year-old ‘felt confident driving it’ and he was able to ‘keep on pushing it’ adding the brakes were particularly ‘impressive’. On hand to guide drivers through the test former SEAT Leon Eurocup Vice-Champion Eoin Murray was impressed by how quickly the karter adapted to the car. With an already packed karting schedule which includes the World and European Championships as well as the Italian and German National Championships, the Celbridge driver is keen to fit in some SEAT Supercup outings and has already identified Rounds 3 & 4 at Bishopscourt as fitting into his calendar.
A veteran of Irish saloon car racing, Miller described the Supercopa as ‘the best car (he’d) ever driven’ adding he ‘could have stayed out in it all day’. Describing the car’s brakes as ‘amazing’, the stalwart of one make championship racing described the car as being ‘very stable’. Multiple motor racing champion Erik Holstein was on hand to offer driver advice, and full details of his SEAT Supercup campaign expected to be announced shortly. Miller said ‘While I don’t have a chance of ever getting close to Eric’s lap times, I really enjoyed driving the car so I’m very interested in doing the championship’.
Joking before his first run that he has only had to deal with left turns, Oval Stock car racer Clein said he ‘really enjoyed (the test)’. With a Google Earth search his only prior knowledge of Mondello’s International loop on which the test took place, the Limerick driver said the track took a bit of getting used to. With the exploits of former oval racer Barry English bringing the SEAT Supercup Ireland to his attention, Clein will now give the championship ‘serious consideration’. Backed by SEAT Ireland and Yokohama, the opening double header of the six event SEAT Supercup Ireland takes place on April 16/17 at Mondello Park on the National circuit.