After a two-year absence, the most important historical motorsport event in southern Europe has returned to relive past eras of competition. “El Espíritu de Montjuïc” was back in 2022 with SEAT taking centre stage at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of April.
SEAT set itself the goal of commemorating the 30th anniversary of its 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games sponsorship. Three decades have passed since SEAT became actively involved in the only Olympic Games held to date in Spain, where some models of the time took a prominent role along with the athletes themselves. The SEAT Toledo Electric, equipped with an all-electric motor, and the SEAT Ibiza Olímpico, will always be remembered from the event. Both performed important logistical tasks in the Barcelona’s Olympic Village and in the competitions that took place during the Olympic Games.
SEAT heritage collection displayed at event, incl the SEAT 127, Ronda & Fura Crono.
SEAT was present at the ninth edition of “El Espíritu de Montjuïc” with an inspiring programme of activities that included classic and modern car tests, a mini marathon in the purest Barcelona ‘92 style; different races and parades of vehicles on the track, as well as exhibitions and other activities that took place in the paddock.
The historic vehicle tests were a special highlight of the first day. An impressive range of vehicles was on display, from the mythical SEAT 600 and its four-door variant, the 800, to sports cars such as the 128 Sport and the 1200 Sport 'Bocanegra', all the way through to utility cars such as the 127, the 133, the Marbella and the first-generation Ibiza. A wide representation that, in total, brought together 20 historical models from the Spanish firm.
There was also the opportunity to test almost all SEAT's current range, including its latest developments. The renewed SEAT Ibiza and Arona, as well as the brand's plug-in hybrid models – the SEAT Leon e-HYBRID and the SEAT Tarraco e-HYBRID – were prominent attractions at this important historic event, now back in full swing after the pandemic. It was undoubtedly an excellent opportunity to see the great evolution that the brand has experienced during the last three decades.
Another huge part of the event during the weekend was the mini marathon. A unique experience on the asphalt of the circuit, but one given an extra boost with the inclusion of SEAT’s first zero emission vehicle.
Mini marathon featured SEAT Runners who carried one of the games’ original flames.
To commemorate the 30th anniversary of SEAT's sponsorship of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, the company organised a small marathon covering the 4.7km Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, in which over 100 racers from the SEAT Runners community participated. The runners carried one of the original Olympic torches and, to make it even more special, the SEAT Toledo Electric was back as a pace car and the SEAT Ibiza Olímpico served as a sweeper car closing the group of runners.
For Isidre López, head of the SEAT Historic Car Collection, the mini marathon “represents the values that SEAT promoted through its participation in the Olympic Games”. And he adds: “The team has worked hard to be able to see the electric Toledo and the Olympic Ibiza in action again, and we've managed to get them to work just as well as they did 30 years ago”. Although, “our greatest pride is to see the excitement on the faces of the runners, especially those who were also volunteers at the Games”, he points out.
One of them is José María Ochoa, a Production employee, who attended the race dressed in his original volunteer uniform: “It's a very exciting experience, a balance of what we are, what we were and what we can become at SEAT, and everything we have achieved”, says Ochoa. And the fact is that “three decades have passed, but the spirit remains the same”, he concludes.
The public was also able to enjoy the historic Formula 1 car races and on-track parades of unique models. Rounding out the event were different exhibitions in the paddock, such as the one dedicated to the National Formula 1430 and the Formula SEAT 1800, two single-seater competitions promoted by SEAT during the 1970s. At the same time, the Spanish brand celebrated the 50th anniversary of the SEAT 127 with the exhibition of various versions of the versatile hatchback, including a racing variant. The event also paid tribute to the 40th anniversary of the Ronda, the Fura Crono and the Panda Papamóvil and, importantly, highlighted the 30th anniversary of SEAT as a sponsor of the 1992 Olympic Games with the exhibition of the SEAT Toledo Electric, the SEAT Toledo Podium and the SEAT Ibiza Olímpico.