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by Tim Beissmann

Seat has announced plans to take back its Nurburgring lap record from Renault just hours after its French rival set a new benchmark in the Megane RS275 Trophy-R.

Earlier today, Renault confirmed a time of 7:54.36 for the stripped out Megane RS275 Trophy-R around the 20.8km Nurburgring Nordschliefe circuit, eclipsing the 7:58.44 lap of the Seat Leon Cupra 280 in March, which at the time broke the Megane RS265 Trophy’s three-year record.

But before the RS275’s tyres had a chance to cool, Seat Leon Cupra chassis development manager Sven Schawe told AutoExpress the Volkswagen Group-owned Spanish car maker had the potential to reclaim the front-wheel-drive lap record.

“Yes, Renault have the record, but it’s a very different type of car to ours,” Schawe said of the Megane RS275 Trophy-R, which is more than 100kg lighter than the regular RS275 thanks to the removal of its rear seats, the addition of polycarbonate monocoque Recaro front bucket seats, and the deletion and substitution of other items.

“If we removed parts from our car, it’s only four seconds, I’m confident we could beat it,” he said.

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Schawe said it was not a matter of if Seat could go faster than Renault, but if it could justify mass-producing a stripped-out version of the Leon Cupra to satisfy the record’s criteria.

He revealed Seat has already built a lightweight Cupra prototype, suggesting the company is giving serious thought to limited-run production version.

“We have to see if it makes sense to offer a car like this to our customers, there needs to be a series car behind it and we need to see what the customer says.

“We wanted to offer a car that’s for everyone, that’s not limited. Now we need to decide if we want to continue this competition with Renault.”

Australia will get one fifth of the total 250-unit production run of Renault Megane RS275 Trophy-R hot-hatches. The first examples are set to reach our shores in December with a circa-$65,000 price tag.

Seat vehicles are not available in Australia.




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