The world of auto racing certainly has something for everyone. While most people focus on mainstream auto racing, there are those who prefer to look for a more exclusive avenue of the sport. If you’re one of those people, you may well find that Targa Racing is for you.
Targa Racing is not a terribly new concept. It got its start at the Targa Florio, a motor racing event that used to take place regularly on the island of Sicily. When this event was finally brought to an end, the concept of tarmac-based road rally racing did not end with it. Instead it continued to spread, so that today it is an internationally recognized avenue of auto racing that enjoys great support from both drivers and fans.
The basic competition concept evident in Targa Racing has been carefully drawn up over the years by borrowing certain rules and guidelines from other events. The end result is that it is now based on the best aspects of the Mille Miglia, the Tour de Corse and the Coupe des Alpes. Competition is fierce and the rally is run regularly at various locations across the globe. Many are surprised to find that even the island state of Tasmania in Australia has been hosting an annual Targa Racing event since 1992. It is known as Targa Tasmania. Other popular editions of the rally include Targa Newfoundland, which is based in Canada, Targa New Zealand and Targa West which is run in Western Australia. There are also considerably more events, though smaller than those already mentioned.
Targa Newfoundland is a particularly popular edition of the sport. It has already been running for more than seven years and remains the first and only event of this nature to be held in North America. The 2200 km course that faces competitors each September provides the perfect opportunity to push automotive limits and drive your heart out. Though the course winds through beautiful open roads, past the glittering Atlantic Ocean and through beautiful countryside, competitors usually do not have a moment to stop and take it all in. Cars are raced at incredible speeds during this world-class event and the majority of roads used for the race are closed to the general public during the event for safety reasons. If you would like to enter the world of Targa Racing, Targa Newfoundland would be the perfect place to start.
The sport of motor racing has thrilled thousands ever since it first began. It wasn’t long after the first ‘horseless carriages’ had been invented and improved upon that the idea of pitting the strengths of different designs, and the skills of drivers, against one another in a race was conceived. The first organized racing event was in actual fact a Reliability Trial run which took place between Paris and Rouen in 1894. The winning vehicle had to, not only cross the finish line first, but had to be safe, easy to control and reasonably economical to run. The first over the line was Count de Dion, but his vehicle was deemed impractical and the prizes were awarded to the next two cars instead. The winning average speed was only 17km/h but the event gave birth to a new craze – motor racing.
As designs continued to be improved upon, the new sport saw a continued increase in cylinders and engine size. The addition of the pneumatic tire was impractical at first but soon gained popularity. Chassis design changed radically and new brake and tire designs struggled to keep up. And as soon as one design became the winning standard, other car manufacturers would strive to improve upon these to bring their own names into the lime-light. By the early 1900s car speeds were approaching 100mph and races where held on open roads, where both drivers and spectators where often involved in bad accidents. Eventually in 1906 the very first Grand Prix for manufacturers was held by the French. The race took place on a 64 mile course which was lapped six times a day for two days.
It did not take long for other countries to follow suit. Germany became a popular place for racing and their Mercedes motorcars often dominated the scene. The Alfa of Italy and the Fiat and Peugeot of France rose to the challenge, and soon they claimed supremacy for themselves. Because of the dangers involved in racing on public roads, wealthy enthusiasts soon started building oval racing circuits which became very popular. An attempt was made to counteract the dangers of the sport by increasing the rules and regulations surrounding the event. Eventually a recognized and standardized racing sport emerged and much of these standards are still maintained in the motor racing sporting events of today.
Whenever the LA Auto Show Design Challenge takes place, motoring enthusiasts keep an eager eye out to see who the winner is. This year it was the Mazda R&D team who has managed to beat some rather stiff opposition with their creative and innovative design.
The theme for the 2008 design challenge was posed in the form of a question, namely: “How will auto racing look in the year 2025?” The resulting entries were amazing, but none quite as impressive as the Mazda entry. The team created a super-skinny, super-slick, three-wheeled vehicle that uses a patented electronic tire system to power it. The system makes use of an electro-conductive road surface from which the tires draw their energy. The concept is not new and has already been proposed for commercial roads as part of the Mazda Blue-Sky initiative. It is capable of enabling the vehicle to achieve speeds of up to 250 mph with absolutely no harmful emissions. Environmentally-friendly, fast and innovative – this is exactly the sort of thing that judges were looking for.
The Environmentally-friendly Mazda Kann definitely takes auto racing to a whole new level. Not only does it propose an entirely new way for a vehicle to be supplied by efficient power, but it also looked into the way that motor racing is typically done. The Mazda Kann team suggested that the sport could possibly change with up to thirty team members racing at the same time instead of just having one or two individuals. The idea is that the team could work together, using certain formations to give them an aerodynamic advantage and increase their speed.
The LA Auto Show Design Challenge saw a number of excellent entries from big auto manufacturers such as Mercedes Benz, Toyota, GM, Honda, Mitsubishi, Volkswagen and Audi. However in the end it was the Mazda concept that won the 2008 design challenge. According to the director of Design Los Angeles and partner in The Design Academy Inc., Chuck Pelly, “The scope of entries this year was very impressive and in the end it came down to which team had the most innovative and artistic design that could go beyond the expectations and challenges of racing today. Mazda’s designers created an optimistic vision of 2025 and ultimately brought unique styling back to motor sports.” When one looks at the finished design, it is easy to see why the Mazda R&D team was the final winner.
The 2008 Australian racing season will see big changes in the industry. The AMRS (Australian Motor Racing Series) has undergone a complete redevelopment and a number of exciting new events have been established at grassroots level. The change comes after three years of steady, motor racing growth in the country.
The Australian Motor Racing Series is the most affordable racing series in Australia and so it is very popular with aspiring drivers and auto racing fans. Thus it was only natural that this racing series should be developed more fully. Starting 2008, the newly titled Australian Motor Racing Championships (AMC) will not only cater for racing, but also touring, GT cars and Sports cars. Races will be held at five different circuits during the course of the year. The new racing season started on the 1st of March. The 2008 series is just the start of it. The new racing plan has been set up offer the course of five years, with the ultimate goal of making this auto racing competition the most affordable in the country.
This year’s series will be made up of nine meetings that will be held at Calder Park, Winton Motor Raceway, Queensland Raceway, Wakefield Park and Adelaide International Raceway. The racing will be sanctioned by the Australian Auto Sport Alliance (AASA). The fact that races will take place across the Eastern seaboard means that competitors and sponsors will reach a far larger market than they normally would. The races will also be nationally televised so that fans unable to make it to the race will be able to enjoy all the action from the comfort of their living rooms.
The main events in the new series will be the AASA Australian Production Car Championship and the AASA Australian Touring Car Championship. The Touring Car Championship will see the inclusion of categories such as V8 Giants and 3-litre Turbo Giant Killers. The races will also be longer, with less or no handicaps. A special feature of the racing calendar includes the ‘Thundersports’ category. Vehicles in this class have motorcycle engines and a fiberglass body. This makes them extremely low cost and super fast. The Production Touring Car Championship is open to any street legal sedan that has been fitted with all the necessary safety equipment, while the Classic Touring Cars remains a popular event.