Another year, another week of stupidly expensive supercars hurling themselves well past the 50km/h limit through the Tasmanian countryside.
It’s the 25th anniversary of the public road classic, which is the realisation of a dream of former FIA world vice-president, Tasmanian born and raised John Large.
It runs for six days, traversing some 2000km of Tasmania’s highways, back roads, national parks, cities, farmland and country towns.
It’s almost comical watching the most desirable cars in the world hoon around quiet streets somewhere near the bottom of the Earth:
That’s the Dodge Viper Extreme ACR, touted as “the fastest street legal car you can own”, due to its ridiculously brash aero kit.
It made an impressive Targa debut yesterday winning its stage category in George Town for driver and 5-time Targa Tasmania champion Jason White.
Today, there’s a couple of nailbiting stages as the fleet traverses a couple of tricky forested passes on its way to Tassie’s east coast before heading north-west, then down to Strahan on the west coast before the run to Hobart on Friday.
Targa organisers have worked hard to take some of the focus off the expense and rope in more of the classic models, but to be honest, Tasmanians rug up and camp in their mate’s paddocks for the day to see just one thing. This:
But last night, local fans got to see all the entrants up close at the annual exhibition held at Launceston’s velodrome.
It was all very shiny – and very expensive. Here’s what’s on offer this year:
2015 McLaren P1
Price: $2 million
The show-stopper at the opening exhibition and undoubtably the hottest hybrid in the world. Only 375 were made. There’s plenty of scope for the P1 to hit 100km/h, even on Tasmania’s windy roads – it’ll get there in 2.8 seconds between bends. Unfortunately it’s too rare for even this and won’t be racing, but rather act just as a show car for the week.
2015 Lamborghini Huracan
Driver: Tony Quinn
Tony Quinn has a couple of Targa titles under his belt in previous years driving a Nissan R35 GT-R and a McLaren 650S. The Huracan should deliver him a GT4 title, but outright? We’ll see.
2016 Dodge Viper ACR
Driver: Jason White, Tas
White’s won Targa outright five times, but this year ditched their Lamborghini Gallardo for the new Viper. It would have cost them “$50,000” to detune the Lambo so it could squeeze into the new GT2 class. And besides, the Viper’s 8.4 litre V10 produces 30% more torque than the Gallardo.
1960 Aston Martin DB4
Price: $1 million (est.)
Driver: Paul Freestone, Vic
Actually rivalled the McLaren for interest at the show. This particular pre-Bond classic was owned by rocker Billy Thorpe and once raced by Sir Jack Brabham. Please be careful with her.
1971 Porsche 916
Price: Anyone’s guess
Driver: Ted Banks, Vic
It looks like a 916. It’s listed as a 916. But if it really is a genuine 916, it’s one of only 11 made, and you won’t get much change out of $1 million if you try to buy it.
2013 Daytona Coupe GT2
Driver: Andrew Clingeleffer, Tas
Actually an Australian car, built in Victoria. Top speed of 290km/h and sadly, comes with the legacy of being the car Peter Brock was driving when he crashed and died in one in 2006. He called it a “beautifully designed local car”.
1976 Morgan Plus 8
Driver: Mac Russell, Tas
Hello lovely. The V8 Morgan oozes handmade class and is the car that kept the British classic manufacturer bubbling away for nearly 40 years, before gaining fame again after Richard Hammond bought one – a 2011 Aeromax – and crashed it.
1961 Steyr Puch TR Europa
Driver: David Currow, NSW
Cute. You won’t see a lot of these Austrian classics on any road in Australia, pumping out a massive 40kW from a 660cc, two-cylinder engine.
1963 Jensen CV8
Driver: Peter Ullrich, NSW
Brutal Chrysler-powered sports classic from the early 60s which could get to 100km/h in 6.7 seconds. One version gained fame in 1964 by towing a caravan at a world record 170km/h at Duxford Aerodrome. Only 500 made.
1977 Holden Torana A9X
Driver: Shane Woodman, Vic
No surprises why this one’s a crowd favourite. Brock himself competed in several Targa Tasmania events from 2002 with his son, James.
Driver: John Henry Mark Duder, WA
Also known as the “Berlinette” and powered by Renault, it’s one of the prettiest cars in the room. In the late 60s and early 70s, it was a bit of a star on the Euro rally circuit too, winning the Monte Carlo in ’71.
2005 Porsche 911
Driver: Simon Cilento, Qld
In classic Gulf trim. Even Jeremy Clarkson likes this, and he hates Porsches.