Gems On Wheels
By Kyle Lindsay
Monday, April 17, 2017 - 15:45
Their combined history totals more than 150 years; they share a tradition, passion for design and innovation as well as a long road in the world of racing. These two southern European brands, SEAT (Barcelona) and Ducati (Bologna), are strengthening their bond on the occasion of the MotoGP World Championship, where the Leon CUPRA, the Spanish brand’s most powerful model, is the official car of the Italian team at the 18 MotoGP races.
Accompanied by the guardians of the gems on two and four wheels in their respective historical collections, Livio Lodi and Isidre López, we take a look at the milestones defining the successes and track record of both companies:
-From the “Popemobile” to Casey Stoner: SEAT and Ducati have two collections that keep their tradition alive. SEAT’s Building A122 houses 263 vehicles, featuring race cars as well as several Vehicles that chronicle the history of Spain; like the 600 that put the country on wheels or the legendary “Popemobile” which was purpose built for the Pontiff’s visit in 1982. The Ducati museum in Bologna contains the brand’s most iconic models, such as the 125 Desmo GP, the first racing motorcycle, and the Desmosedici GP07 with which Casey Stoner won the World Championship in 2007.
–On the podium: In addition to designing and manufacturing utility vehicles and street bikes, both companies have a successful track record in the world of motor racing. Since 1970, SEAT Sport has won two World Touring Car championships (2008 and 2009), more than 25 rally titles and championships, and has organised successful single brand competitions around the world. Furthermore, Ducati has been competing in MotoGP for 14 years, winning 33 races, and 24 seasons in the Superbike World Championship, conquering 17 manufacturers’ world titles, and is present in several other national championships. In 2007, the team won the MotoGP World Championship with Australian racer Casey Stoner.
-From Montjuïc to Montecarlo: Both companies have vehicles that competed in legendary races: the SEAT 124 Group 4 finished on the podium at the unforgettable 1977 Montecarlo Rally, and the Ducati 900 won the 24 Hours of Montjuïc in 1980, one of the most gruelling urban track races in motorcycling history.
–Ducati Red: If the trademark “Ducati Red” made its debut in 1985 thanks to the 750 Paso, the SEAT 124 Group 4 was behind nicknaming the 1977 Montecarlo event the “Race of the SEAT taxis” because that was the model and colour used for taxis in Spain in those times.
SEAT is the only company that designs, develops, manufactures and markets cars in Spain. A member of the Volkswagen Group, the multinational has its headquarters in Martorell (Barcelona), exporting 81% of its vehicles, and is present in over 80 countries through a network of 1,700 dealerships. In 2016, SEAT obtained an operating profit of 143 million euros, the highest in the history of the brand, and achieved worldwide sales of nearly 410,000 vehicles.
SEAT Group employs more than 14,500 professionals at its three production centres – Barcelona, El Prat de Llobregat and Martorell, where it manufactures the highly successful Ibiza and Leon. Additionally, the company produces the Ateca and the Toledo in the Czech Republic, the Alhambra in Portugal and the Mii in Slovakia.
The multinational has a Technical Centre, which operates as a knowledge hub that brings together 1,000 engineers who are focussed on developing innovation for Spain’s largest industrial investor in R&D. SEAT already features the latest connectivity technology in its vehicle range and is currently engaged in the company’s global digitalisation process to promote the mobility of the future.