Targa Target For Skelta G-Force
Queensland's Skelta G-Force sports car is among 230 entries already received for next year's Targa Tasmania tarmac rally to be held from April 26-May 1.
The various requirements of the vehicle will now weigh heavily on the Skelta team as they continue to work around the clock to have the pre-production prototype advanced to a production ready model.
Once the first car is road-registered, the team, under the direction of Managing Director Ray Vandersee will move to have five models completed as part of Targa Tasmania regulation requirements.
Targa Tasmania 2005 will be the 14th annual staging of the tarmac rally since its inception in 1992. The total distance of next year's course will be just under 2100km, with about 452km in 44 competitive stages.
"For the Skelta team, Targa Tasmania has always been the focal point of the exercise and our ability to successfully tackle the tough Targa stages over six successive days will prove the greatest advertisement for the car," said Vandersee.
"Last year when I drove my Westfield Clubman to 9th overall I found I was forced to back-off in some of the rougher areas of the course due to limited suspension travel.
"I'm confident of being able to push harder in the Skelta as we have designed-in much more suspension travel. Also the more manageable, predictable handling of the car will make it easier to drive on unfamiliar roads and conditions that is commonly experienced in road events like Targa."
To date, the pre-production prototype Skelta has turned many heads during competition in numerous home-State tarmac events.
Such outings have also served as valuable test sessions to prove the capabilities of many vehicle components and to help fine-tune the optimum handling setup.
"We have now completed our aerodynamic testing where the results were quite impressive.
"Through the use of wool tufts layered over the car's body we were able to identify how the air flows and interacts with the body and the various aerodynamic devices.
"We were able to make considerable improvements with only minor fine tuning of some of these devices. I'm now confident the Skelta will produce excellent cornering speed by generating good aerodynamic downforce and grip.
"Within the next five to six weeks we are focussing on getting the production body panels completed and fitted and continuing with the minor components like radiator and brake ducting. This is sure to keep the team busy.
After consultation with a Dept. of Transport Engineer, the Skelta team are working through a program to meet all regulations under the Australian Design Rules. There are a number of recommendations that will be attended to over coming weeks.
Vandersee expects the Skelta to pass with flying colours, hoping to have the first car registered with Queensland Transport early in the New Year.
"We are certainly moving into overdrive with the program and can start to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
"But in saying that, it will remain a busy period over the New Year as we transform the Skelta and ensure a production ready, road registered start at the Mt Buller Sprint in Victoria on January 21-23."
The Mt Buller Sprint event will be conducted on a closed road, covering some 16 kilometres, rising through over 1000 metres in altitude, along the Mt Buller Tourist Road to the Alpine Village atop Mount Buller.
2005 will build on the enormous success of last year's inaugural event, with competitors having 8 timed special stages, as well as a prologue through the streets of Mansfield. It is anticipated that a capacity field will participate in this year's event, with many high profile drivers entering.