Just another tuned SEAT Ibiza Cupra, right? Wrong! Now packing 500bhp, after the mother of all transformations, Scott’s wide-arch weapon is out to cause more than a few embarrassed faces on both road and track.
If there’s just one take-home point from the fascinating story of the building of Scott’s downright mental tuned SEAT Ibiza here, it’s this: never underestimate what can be achieved by two blokes in a shed with a few crates of beer.
A once underrated sporty little Spanish hatchback that served as Scott’s daily runabout, how has this car ended up becoming this fire-spitting animal in the space of a couple of short years?
“It all started in Christmas 2012,” says our man Scott, setting the scene. “After the turbo went, me and my mate went for a meal and a couple of drinks, before deciding to go balls-deep into creating a monster!” Ah, yes. The dangerous combination of premium lager and ambitious car plans. We’ve all been there…
But Scott’s ideas for big power were actually fairly feasible. You see, the 1.8 turbo engine sitting in his car has already proven itself in many a famous high-powered VAG build. Plus he’d been told by the previous owner that this one had already been forged.
“The plan was to bolt on a bigger turbo and see how it panned out,” Scott says. “Turns out it wasn’t forged after all and was in fact completely standard!” Just like Drake, then, it seemed that Scott and his mate Chris would be starting from the bottom when it came to this engine.
Making the shed in Chris’ back garden their home, the duo spent the best part of two years concocting what has to be one of the strongest, most comprehensively re-worked 1.8T lumps in the country.
You’re best off checking out the Tech Spec for the full story on just what went into the SEAT‘s engine. But the highlights include a beefier Garrett GT3076R snail, fully overhauled internals and custom exhaust and fuelling systems. “It was a love-hate relationship really,” Scott says of the inevitable ups and downs of the engine building process. “But, niggling problems now out of the way, I’ve been left with a seriously underrated car!”
But a highly strung engine wedged into a standard SEAT was never going to be the best formula for success. So build manager Scott enlisted the help of a couple of mates to deal with various other aspects of the car whilst he took care of the powerplant.
The shell was first taken to Scott’s friend Gary to offer up some custom wide-arches in anticipation of the car’s footprint becoming a whole lot wider when back on the road. A lot of blood, sweat and tears later, the perfectly sculpted shell was next handed over to Martin at Elite Paint and Panel, where its bold Porsche GT3 hue was slapped on both inside and out.
“I wanted this colour, as I don’t think it’s ever been done on an Ibiza before,” Scott says. “It also goes with the theme of my car resembling a mini version of the track- focused GT3, of course.”
As everything appeared to be coming together swimmingly, the car and engine were next taken to Gloucestershire-based VAG tuner Badger5 to tune the mighty new lump to perfection for the British roads. Owner of a 680bhp Ibiza track car himself, company boss Bill Brockbank was certainly the man for the job, and filled Scott with confidence that his engine was also set to produce some big numbers.
And it didn’t disappoint! With a custom wideband ECU and a whole lot of tweaking, Bill managed to squeeze a rather ridiculous 456bhp out of the little car. Scott’s since added some hot new cams, a bigger throttle body and a SEM Motorsport inlet manifold into the mix, so is conservatively estimating a healthy 500bhp is now available at his right foot.
Surely a 500bhp front-wheel-drive car is the recipe for disaster, though? Scott was clearly thinking the same thing, swiftly investing in some top-notch chassis and transmission components to keep his beloved car on the straight and narrow. This has resulted in a super-whiney semi-helical gearbox, complete with a beasty LSD, along with some KW coilovers and monster Tarox brakes all making their way onto the SEAT.
“It drives awesomely now,” says Scott. “The gearbox and diff are on point and the car doesn’t wheelspin or torque steer at all. It just grips and goes!” Sounds like this newly-completed car is a bit of a weapon, then, as Scott has already found out. “I’ve already shamed some Porsches in the few times I’ve taken it out so far,” he admits. “Oh, and scared the living daylights out of a few pedestrians with its pops and bangs!”
Now fully finished and, somewhat amazingly, sporting a fresh MoT certificate, how does our proud owner here plan to use the Ibiza over the coming months? “I’m going to finish it off with a rollcage and hopefully compete in a few rounds of Time Attack,” Scott tells us.
Well, we certainly hope its competitors are ready for it, as this is one hot hatch that isn’t taking any prisoners.
This is perhaps the fastest, most capable road-legal Ibiza in the country. The phrase ‘game changer’ has already been bandied around social media posts about this car, and you know what? We reckon for once they might be right…
TECH SPEC: SEAT IBIZA
1.8-litre 20V turbo Cupra engine; ported and polished head; forged pistons and con rods; Supertech Inconel valves with double valve springs; billet crank gear; Badger5 ‘Spec’ cams; ARP con rod bolts; head studs and crank gear bolts; Owen Developments Garrett GT3076R turbocharger; custom tubular manifold with screamer pipe; TiAL external wastegate; custom 3in downpipe; custom 3in straight-through exhaust system; SEM Motorsports inlet manifold; Toyosports intercooler; Forge Motorsport 007 recirculating dump valve; TFSI coil packs; 80mm Hemi V8 throttle body; 630cc Siemens fuel injectors; Sytec in-tank fuel pump; Bosch 004 in-line fuel pump; Devilsown water-methanol injection kit; custom brackets for turbo and custom hard piping; custom Badger5- tuned wideband ECU with launch control and flat-foot shifting.
Semi-helical five-speed ‘02J’ gearbox with SQS Racing gearset; Peloquin limited-slip differential; short-shift conversion; ARP flywheel bolts.
9x17in Rota Grid Drift alloy wheels; 25mm spacers all-round; 235/40×17 Nankang NS-2R tyres; KW Variant 3 coilovers; upper strut braces front and rear; lower front strut brace; fully polybushed; Tarox 6-pot callipers with 330mm discs (front); braided brake lines throughout.
Full re-spray in Porsche GT3 blue; custom wide-arch conversion front and rear to accommodate wider track; custom boot spoiler; carbon fibre bonnet.
Fully stripped and painted throughout; 2x carbon/ Kevlar Corbeau Pro Series fixed bucket seats; TRS 6-point harnesses; flocked dashboard; Kode dished steering wheel; Forge Motorsport gearknob, aluminium battery tray; water methanol tank
We’d like to say a massive thanks to Thruxton Circuit for letting us use their awesome facilities to do this shoot. It’s the fastest racing circuit in the UK, so for more info on their driving experiences or to get your hands on some race day tickets hit.
Words Mr Ordinary Photos Dan Pullen