In the United States, Suzuki is more known for its superlative motorcycles than mainstream automobiles. It is a notion that has even been played upon by the manufacturer's marketing department in recent commercials. In other parts of the world though, particularly in places where small cars garner more of a following, the small Japanese compacts are popular enough to get their own race series. The inaugural Suzuki Swift Sport Cup kicked off in New Zealand back last November and culminated last month. Next up on the calendar, the United Kingdom gets a taste of the 1.6L 123-hp hatch in its own Swift Cup. The kiwi version utilized tarmac tracks, but the UK cars are optimized for dirt. This weekend will see seven identical Monster Sport Europe-built vehicles battling it out on part of the Pirelli International Rally course, the first of six rounds for the cup.

The low operation costs of the series and the accompanying television deal makes for an attractive package for participants, not to mention the high point prize. The overall championship winner also gets a fully funded ride in the 2008 Wales Rally GB WRC race. The vehicle entry will be a Suzuki Swift Super 1600, of course.

[Source: AutoMotoPortal.com]