Your pocket guide to Targa Tasmania

If you’ve read the story on Dan Rotman’s entry with a 99 Turbo, you’ll be aware that Targa Tasmania starts next week.  So what is it?

Basically, Targa is a tarmac rally that sends some of the world’s greatest touring cars and drivers around more than 2000km of Tasmania’s rolling, curving highways and byways.  Of this, around 450km comprise actual competitive stages with cars going flat out amidst some spectactular scenery. 

Unlike other rally events, Targa is run on public roads and there’s no repeated sections.  You only get one chance to take a corner correctly – there’s no coming back and repeating it the next day.

Targa is an event designed to allow drivers to drive their cars they way they were meant to be driven.  A performance test for performance cars.  There’s a wide variety of them too, from small to big, old and new. 

The smallest car in the program will be the 2 cylinder, 673cc 1965 Steyr Puch TR Europa.  There’s Fiat 850’s, Minis, Escorts, Alfas, one solitary Saab, BMWs, Jags, Fords (incl GT40), Holdens, Porsches (including a tenth straight entry from the Porsche museum – this year is a 1959 718 RS 60 Spyder), Nissans, a Morgan, Ferraris, Lotuses (Lotii?), a Lamborghini and something very strange-looking called a Davrian.

The goal, of course, is the trophy.  There’s special ones for those that exhibit maniacal speed within their class, but it’s also acknowledged that just finishing this event in regulation time is a huge achievement.  Every car that finishes within the specified Targa time gets a Targa Trophy for doing so.  Do it more than once and the trophies change colour:

The main goal for most Targa Tasmania competitors is to be awarded a Targa Trophy. A Targa Trophy will be presented to the driver and co-driver or navigator of each crew who has completed each and every Targa stage within the trophy time specified in the road books for their vehicle class.

More desirable is the achievement of a Golden Targa Trophy, which is presented to any crewmember (driver, co-driver or navigator) who satisfies the requirements for a Targa trophy in three successive years of the event. The Golden Targa Trophy is presented in lieu of the normal Targa trophy award.

Win three more Targa trophies in a row and you get a Platinum one to go with your Gold one.  Acquire three more throphies in a row and you get a Diamond trophy to complete the set.  You can have a year off between sets of three, but to get to another special piece of hardware, the results have to be recorded in successivce years.  That’s 9 completed Targas – a heavy (and costly) undertaking.

Some of the more famous names (both people and vehicles) to have come to Targa include the following:

Some of the more modern exotic cars which have contested the event are Ferrari F40 and Testarossa, Maserarti Barchetta, Lamborghini Diablo VT, Lotus Espirit S4, Porsche Boxter and BMZ Z3, whilst some of the classic and historic vehicles include Lancia Aurelia, Jaguar SS100, Lagonda Rapide, Delage D6/70, Bugati Type 35B, Hispano Suiza, Invicta ‘S’ Type, Locomobile Speedster, Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, and Alfa Romeo Mille Miglia Spider.

Drivers who have enjoyed the thrill of Targa Tasmania include Sir Jack Brabham, Stirling Moss, Denny Hulme, Sandra Munari, Roger Clark, Jochen Mass, Walter Roehrl, Dick Johnson, Gregg Hansford, Peter Brock, Rusty French, Glenn Ridge, Eric Bana, Greg Crick, Andrew Miedecke, Neal Bates, Bob Wollek, Jim Richards, Peter Fitzgerald, Barry Sheene and Mick Doohan.

The official schpiel from Targa Tasmania is over the fold.  Go kill a few minutes.  And if you haven’t read about Dan and the 99 Turbo – click here.

Targa Tasmania is an exciting International Classic� a tarmac rally with competitive stages on closed roads for the best touring, sports and GT cars in the world. Its inaugural year was in April 1992 when Tasmania hosted this distinguished International motoring Classic.

The competition concept is drawn directly from the best features of the Mille Miglia, the Coupe des Alpes and the Tour de Corse. However, Targa Tasmania is not a slow-motion re-run. It is a genuine "red-blooded" motor sport competition. It is also a unique annual opportunity for the owners of sports cars and GTs to drive them the way they were designed to be driven, on some of the most exciting and challenging tarmac roads in the world.

Targa Tasmania caters for up to 300 select cars including many overseas competitors. Entries are selected from Applications to Compete, by a Vehicle Selection Committee. Invitations to Compete in each year�s Event are announced on a progressive basis from August through to March (close of applications).

Targa Tasmania has quickly established itself as an annual event, conducted in April each year. The present format is to conduct the event over six days (including a Prologue) on some 2,000 kilometres of tarmac roads.

There are four competitions within the event:

  • Targa Tasmania Shannons Historic
  • Targa Tasmania Shannons Touring Classic
  • Targa Tasmania Classic
  • Targa Tasmania Modern

Competitors in the Shannons Historic and Touring Classic Competitions follow a shorter competition route, competing on about 6 targa stages each day, and having a rest day midway through the event.  The Shannons Historic Show & Shine is conducted on this day.

Entrants nominate into periods or categories according to the age of the vehicle nominated:

Targa Tasmania Shannons Historic

Periods A, B & C

Veteran and Vintage

up to 1930

Period D

Post Vintage

1931 – 1946


Targa Tasmania Shannons Touring Classic

Period E


1947 – 1961

Period F

Early Classic

1962 – 1965


Targa Tasmania Classic

Category 1


up to 1946

Category 2


1947 – 1961

Category 3

Early Classic

1962 – 1965

Category 4


1966 – 1971

Category 5

Late Classic

1972 – 1976

Category 6

Post Classic

1977 – 1981


Targa Tasmania Modern

Category 7

Early Modern

1982 – 1990

Category 8

Late Modern

1991 – 1997

Category 9


1998 – Present Day

The competition design of Targa Tasmania also recognises that the entrants of true-to-type cars are not disadvantaged by having to compete directly against substantially modified cars of the same type. Accordingly, the event provides for cars to be classified into three broad sections: Standard Specification � for those cars which do not depart significantly from the manufacturer�s specification, and Modified Specification � for those which have been further developed. The third classification � Limited Modified � applies to vehicles whose modifications are cosmetic rather than relating to engine or exhaust specifications. The event encourages participation of all three types of vehicles by providing separate Category and Class systems for cars of each Specification.

The running order of the competition is decided on the Temco Prologue Day, held on a closed road town stage the day before the competition commences. The start order is based on the slowest car starting first and the fastest last.

Targa Tasmania entrants comprise a wide range of media-attracting personalities including former World Champions and other well-known motor sport competitors from both Australia and overseas, as well as national and international celebrities. In short, this is not only a competitive motor sport event. It is a unique commercial and tourist attraction capturing the imagination of the Australian public as well as the national and international motor sport fraternity.

Tourism Tasmania has announced that more than 200,000 people per annum watch Targa Tasmania each year over the six days, while an international viewing audience of over 480 millions has been estimated for each event.

Targa Tasmania has the support and backing of the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) as well as the Federation International de l’ Automobile (FIA). The Tasmanian Government rates this special event as having a substantial commercial contribution as well and being a major tourist attraction to the State, and active support is provided by the Department of State Development.  Thus, Targa Tasmania is another example of the successful partnership between Government and Motor Sport, attracting between $4 and $10 million new tourist dollars to Tasmania each year.

The goal of organisers and the Tasmanian Government has been achieved – to see Targa Tasmania develop into the premier motor sport event of its type in Australia, ranking alongside the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne and Rally Australia in Perth.

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