Motorsport Services came from New Zealand and Australia with their SEAT Leon to race in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, which marked the first time a SEAT brand vehicle raced in the 25. In case you do not know, SEAT is a Spanish car company headquartered not far from Barcelona. Originally SEAT was an acronym for Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo. Today, SEAT is owned by the Volkswagen Group. Most SEATs use VW components, and the Leon is basically a Golf. The car at Thunderhill was a Leon Supercopa, which is a factory race car built by SEAT Sport.
This SEAT Leon was living under a tree for 15 months before the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. Only a short time before the race, Motorsport Services decided to take part in the 25. The Australian and New Zealander team has run many other prestigious endurance races before, such as the 24 Hours of Barcelona and the 24 Hours of Dubai, but nothing longer than 24 hours. Their drivers were Brett Niall, Malcolm Niall, Simon Piavanini, and Mark Pilatti. Crewing for Motorsport Services was an ex-Flying Lizards crew member, who won overall at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill four years in a row.
Not knowing the class specifications, Motorsport Services entered the car in ES, but probably a more appropriate class would have been E0. They qualified 25th overall and 14th in ES among some high-powered machinery. Most cars in ES put out 500 horsepower or more, but the SEAT’s turbocharged four cylinder generates less than 300 horsepower.
The race did not start well for the team as they suffered three separate tire punctures in the first 90 minutes. After having more puncture problems in the night, Motorsport Services changed tire brands and continued. This change ended their tire-puncture problems.
During the night, Motorsport Services collided with the Dutch American Racing Team and broke the suspension. After replacing the broken bits, Motorsport Services was back on track and racing again. When the sun rose, Motorsport Services was running fifth in ES. Barely missing out on a top 10 overall finish, Motorsport Services finished 11th overall and fifth in class.