With an astonishing time of 7:58.4, it becomes the first FWD (front-wheel drive) production model to dip below the eight-minute barrier.

The car used to set the amazing lap time was a production-specification Leon Cupra 280 DSG, equipped with an optional Performance Pack that includes Brembo high-performance brakes, specially designed 19-inch alloy wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres.

Formally announcing the record, SEAT S.A. President Jürgen Stackmann said: "Our ultimate expression of the successful Leon formula is the all new Leon Cupra.

"It is the fastest and the most powerful car we have ever built and yet is a comfortable family car. The Cupra is our new icon."

Meanwhile, SEAT Ireland has announced year-on-year sales growth of over 20%.

This growth is supported by over 1,000 vehicle registrations so far in 2014.

This strong start to the year follows on from an impressive 2013, which saw SEAT increase its overall sales by 62%, enjoying a record 3% market share. 

Cian O'Brien, Director of SEAT Ireland, said: "I'm delighted at how well we have started and the important thing for us now is to keep moving forward…

"SEAT is a very ambitious brand and we have already introduced superb new products this year, including the SEAT Leon Sports Tourer in January, while we look forward to the arrival of further new products this year, including the all-new SEAT Leon Cupra in March."