New Hyundai Tiburon Targa Tasmania debut

New Hyundai Tiburon to make world motorsport debut in Targa Tasmania. THURSDAY, APRIL 11: Hyundai's stylish new Tiburon sports tourer will make its international motorsport debut in next week's epic Targa Tasmania tarmac rally. With Hyundai...

New Hyundai Tiburon to make world motorsport debut in Targa Tasmania.

THURSDAY, APRIL 11: Hyundai's stylish new Tiburon sports tourer will make its international motorsport debut in next week's epic Targa Tasmania tarmac rally.

With Hyundai Automotive Distributors Australia's backing, the sleek two-door coupe will attack the Targa's 43 timed stages traversing 1,977km of Tasmania's best driving roads from next Tuesday, April 16 to Sunday 21st.

Officially launched onto the Australian market last Sunday in both 2.7-litre V6 and 2.0-litre four-cylinder models, the Tiburon V6 has been entered by Hyundai to demonstrate its abilities as a sports tourer, although Hyundai Marketing General Manager Peter Evans predicted it could easily post some similar stage times to more comfort-compromised, hard-edged racers.

"Tiburon V6 is a sexy-looking, driver-friendly grand tourer rather than a 'skateboard sportster', and its superb handling and ease of driving hard will stand it in good stead," Evans said.

"Targa also gives Hyundai a local motorsport activity to complement our World Rally Championship Accent team which is successfully competing against established European and Japanese teams."

The Targa Tiburon will be crewed by Sydney-based former 'Motor' magazine deputy-editor and current '4x4 Australia' editor Michael Taylor and rally navigator Anthony McLoughlin from Brisbane.

The 33-year-old Taylor brings a decade of testing, racing and rallying experience to the campaign. He and McLoughlin were team mates in last year's Targa Tasmania, though this year marks their debut as a pairing.

Taylor finished second in his class in a standard Mazda MX-5 in last year's Targa, while McLoughlin teamed with double Australian Rally Champion Murray Coote in a turbocharged version to claim 20th.

Hyundai becomes the last factory or importer-backed entry into Targa Tasmania, with the Tiburon joining a pair of Holden Monaro CV8s for Peter Brock and dual Bathurst winner Steven Richards, a Mazda RX-7 SP for rally ace Rick Bates, a Lexus IS200 for triple Australian Rally Champion Neal Bates, a Ford Falcon XR6 for Steve Hoinville and a Volkswagen Beetle RSi for Nations Cup star Paul Stokell.

Taylor's Tiburon is entered in the Modern Contemporary Limited Modified class (for cars 1998-2002) in a huge field of more than 280 entries.

"There hasn't been a lot of time to prepare or test the car, but it already feels like a pretty sweet package," Taylor said. "We've only had a brief test, but it's been beautifully prepared and it'll certainly be faster than the Mazda I drove here last year."

"We don't expect to run with the turbos, but Hyundai has come a long way in the last decade and the Tiburon's got the potential to frighten a few people when they check its stage times - especially if it rains."

"On my favourite stages, like Cethana, Strahan and Elephant's Pass, it'll be quite sharp. We don't expect to excel on the power-type stages like Cygnet or Mount Arrowsmith, but there are enough of the pure drivers' stages, which suit this car, to make up for them."

Originally rally-prepared for car zero in last November's Telstra Rally Australia by Brisbane-based rally ace Stewart Reid, the left-hand-drive Tiburon has had only mandatory safety modifications as well as the minor suspension, brake and clutch upgrades Targa Tasmania's rulemakers allow.

Tiburon V6's all-alloy, quad cam 2.7-litre engine delivers maximum power of 127 kW and a flexible 245 Nm of torque. Mated to a six-speed close-ratio manual gearbox, it launches the $41,880 (recommended retail price) Tiburon V6 from rest to 100 km/h in around 8.2-secs and onto 400m in 15.8-secs. The 2.0-litre Tiburon starts from $35,880 (RRP) which includes dual airbags and 16-inch alloy wheels. Both models also offer optional (at extra cost) Selectronic automatic with clutchless sequential manual shift.

Tiburon V6 also sports ABS, electronic brake force distribution, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels, 45 series tyres, and an effective rear wing as standard equipment.

"The engine's very torquey, which should be perfect for Targa's hilly country, and it's front-wheel-drive, so it should be stable on the fast stuff and pretty good if it's wet as well," Taylor said.

While the rally car's power output is similar to the production V6, its front brakes have been upgraded with six-piston AP calipers on bigger rotors in anticipation of the vastly harder than ordinary use meted out to them on this type of event. Taylor will also join the Bates twins in running on all-new French-designed and manufactured Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 17-inch tyres.

But Hyundai hasn't just prepared the Tiburon V6 road racer. It has also readied a pair of seven-seat support vehicles: it's all new Terracan V6 4x4 wagon and a Trajet V6 people mover.

- www.targa.org.au

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Series Other rally
Drivers Neal Bates , Rick Bates , Peter Brock , Paul Stokell , Stewart Reid , Steven Richards