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Seat Ibiza Cupra from tuner JE Design on the racetrack: small car athletes in the racetrack test

Frank Herzog
Seat Ibiza Cupra from tuner JE Design
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F early booking discounts, deserted sandy beaches, double-digit plus degrees the thermometer - these are current associations with Ibiza. But not only the Balearic island attracts in gloomy winter days with a southern temperament, the refreshed Seat Ibiza Cupra by JE Design also provides small car fans with spring fever.

Seat Ibiza Cupra with performance increase to 205 PS

Under the blue body, an MTM chip pushes the four-cylinder TSI from 180 to 205 hp. There is also a KW variant 3 coilover kit, chic 18-inch spoke wheels and a powerful, grumbling sports rear silencer from the company's own production. Martial racing stripes and additional daytime running lights transform the already striking Ibiza into a self-confident torero.

But what is enough for a spotlight in front of the ice cream parlor and in the disco parking lot doesn’t cause a drum roll in the demanding sport auto test procedure. And so the tuned Seat is now crouching shyly in the pit lane of Hockenheim despite its combat suit. Here the 2D measuring device rules and makes tough choices between boulevard posers and sportsmen.

The pit light jumps to green and the blue Cupra rushes onto the small course. Warm up for a lap, then the clock starts running. In the north curve, data recording reports its first success. Instead of the production model with 118 km /h (see Test Seat Ibiza Cupra ) the JE runs through the north curve at 121 km /h. In the crossbar, the electronic measuring helper records two km /h more at a speed of 158. Entrance Motodrom, in the Sachskurve and in the valley, there is harmony. Only in the south curve does the trimmed Ibiza barely take the normal off the line by a kilometer per hour before the blue-and-white checkered tuning express rushes towards the finish line.

The lap time on the Hockenheimring is better

With a lap time of 1.21.3 minutes, the JE-Seat is half a second faster than the works model. However, it does not primarily develop its lead on the slopes with the help of the more powerful 1.4-liter direct injection. The plus points are mainly for the chassis setup. Thanks to the center of gravity, which has been lowered by 40 millimeters, and thechanged chassis kinematics, the JE steers in significantly crisper. Through the 18-meter slalom, it waggles with less side incline and at 67.9 km /h over two km /h faster than the production model. On the racetrack, the JE-Ibiza tends to understeer slightly under load in tight corners.

The more agile impression than with the production car is reinforced by a rear that swivels at the same time, but which is immediately reined in electronically. As with the off-the-shelf Cupra, the ESP cannot be switched off completely. The electronically simulated differential lock XDS should also ensure better traction in the JE model. But even here too vehement regulatory interventions are annoying when visiting the racetrack. Similar to the factory Ibiza, the seven-speed DSG shifts up on its own when the engine speed limit is reached and does not hold the gears even in manual sequential mode - reason for further displeasure among piste fans. A mechanical lock and reprogramming of the transmission software could significantly improve the suitability for the race track.

The modified Spaniard has no advantages in the sprint

Thanks to the accelerator pedal curve modified by bits and bytes, the Spanish small car reacts much more spontaneously to accelerator commands /15-Cupra, it does only marginally better despite 25 HP extra power and a maximum torque that has increased from 250 to 300 Newton meters. In the sprint duel from a standing start, the two opponents push their honeycomb lattice nose exactly after seven seconds over the 100 km /h mark. If the sprint continues up to 180 km /h, the strengthened Ibiza even falls a little behind the works brother with 17-inch wheels and Conti SportContact3 tires.

On the other hand, JE shines with consistently better values ​​in the elasticity measurement. Like the measured series counterpart, the tuned Seat decelerates with the optional sports brake system available ex works. With 10.0 m /s², it stops a little better after the tenth measurement than the normal Cupra (9.9 m /s²). After the fast laps in Hockenheim, however, the brakes also tire with slacking pedal pressure. There is still further optimization potential for track days and tourist trips.

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