Aapart from millions of Porsche in it, there are some cool cars
Field worth $30 million
Most expensive car: La Ferrari $4 million
Oldest car: 1938 Dodge Speedster Specialhttps://targa.com.au/tc/https://targa.com.au/tc/news_details.asp?asset_id=29683
TARGA Tasmania ace Jason White is “scared” of more than the $1.32 million worth of Porsches driven by his three main rivals going in to the 26th edition of the world’s premier tarmac rally starting in Launceston today.
Given a forecast for rain today and tomorrow, White says the top four-wheel-drive teams will relish the wet conditions.
Targa Tasmania sets off from the Launceston Country Club this morning with a ceremonial start and heads into the state’s North-East.
A field of 270 cars heads up the Tamar for a warm-up stage at Kayena before unleashing their horsepower on the infamous Sideling stage as part of seven stages on day one.
White, a five-time Targa champion, hopes for redemption after blowing the engine in his Dodge Viper while leading last year.
To do that, he must overcome the Porsche GT2 supercars of defending champion Matt Close (Vic), Tony Quinn (Qld) and Jim Richards (Vic) and Tasmanian navigator Barry Oliver, who are doing the event for the 25th time.
“There’s always plenty of Porsches around to bother us and this year is no different,” he said.
“I’ve never been much of a Porsche fan but this GT2 is the only Porsche I’ve ever looked at and thought that actually looks quite good.
“They are a great performing car but they will have the same problem as us — our cars are not designed for wet-weather running — they’re pretty unforgiving.
“We will probably all be tiptoeing around the tulips when it’s wet and praying for dry conditions so we can enjoy ourselves a bit more.”
Targa drivers, from left, reigning champ Matt Close, Jason White, Tony Quinn and Jim Richards during a press conference at Launceston yesterday. Picture: CHRIS KIDD
Jason White and Eddie Maguire in their 2016 Dodge Viper ACR Extreme during the Oldina stage of Targa Tasmania last year. Picture: CHRIS KIDD
White named Queensland-based Tasmanian Paul Stokell as a threat in his Lotus Exige along with Launceston’s Peter Nunn in his Porsche GTS.
“There are plenty of contenders out there. There’s a good 10 you need to be looking out for,” he said.
“There’s a lot of four-wheel-drive cars you have to be scared of in the wet.”
Richards, a seven-time Bathurst champion and eight-time Targa winner, loves Tasmania.
Targa competitors, from left, navigator Stuart Greaves and driver Mark Clair with their team "mechanic" Sergei who will accompany them during the event in their Porsche 911. Picture: CHRIS KIDD
“When you go to a racetrack, you practise on Friday, you qualify and race on Saturday, and if you are lucky have two races on the Sunday,” he said.
“In Targa, you have seven or eight races every day and every race is on a different track. It doesn’t get much better if you are interested in driving cars fast.”
Two-times Targa champion Quinn, who owns VIP Petfoods and Darrell Lea, knows what it takes to win.
“Anything can happen in Targa — on the last day, or on the last stage. You’ve just got to make sure to be there at the end,” he said.
Targa is in George Town tomorrow, the North-West Coast on Wednesday, West Coast on Thursday, West Coast to Hobart on Friday and the state’s South on Saturday.