New car is Richards' secret Targa weapon Eight-time Targa Tasmania champion, Jim Richards, is pinning his hopes of a modern victory in the 2010 tarmac classic on a brand new car. Richards and long-time co-driver, Barry Oliver, will unveil a...
New car is Richards' secret Targa weapon
Eight-time Targa Tasmania champion, Jim Richards, is pinning his hopes of a modern victory in the 2010 tarmac classic on a brand new car.
Richards and long-time co-driver, Barry Oliver, will unveil a new 2010 Porsche 911 GT3 RS in this year's event, and both are hoping for a change of fortune.
The man long considered the king of tarmac rallies uncharacteristically retired from the event in 2009 after an off-road excursion on day three, and then had a potential victory in this year's Rally Tasmania snatched from his grasp after a steering problem just two stages from the finish.
But the new car means a fresh start for the wily veteran. The Porsche has less than 1000 kilometres on the clock, but Richards knows that the German factory makes a great road car.
"I've only had it three weeks and all I've done is put a new muffler on it and put harnesses in it and that's all," Richards said. "It's basically as it comes from Porsche it could go in the showroom class.
"It has a slightly bigger engine than last year's car. It's a 3.8 litre engine, but you're comparing the twin-turbo car of last year to a non-turbo car this year.
"The down side is that it's got 100HP less and less torque, but the upside is it's a brand new car and its lovely.
"It's normally aspirated and it uses its power a bit better and it's 100kg lighter than last year's car.
"But to be honest I'm not expecting it to be any faster than last year's car, but it's a different car, it's a new car and it's going to be terrific just to see how it goes.
Local hope, Jason White, also has a new car. But unlike the Porsche, which is basically straight from the showroom floor, the White team have been working overtime to build the new Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo Strada in readiness for the Prologue which gets underway in George Town on Tuesday afternoon.
White's co-driver, his uncle John White, says it has been a huge effort to get the car to the start line.
"We have been working 24/7 for the past four weeks to build the car, and we took it out of the garage at 9.30 this morning to come down here from Devonport ready for the rally tomorrow," White said.
"I have spent what it costs to buy a couple of houses, so we are hoping that it does the job over the next six days." Jason White won Targa Wrest Point in January believes the new car should be an improvement on the one he took to victory at Targa Wrest Point in January.
"We have made some inroads in the way the car handles in the wet, but we have not had a chance to try it out yet," White said.
"We have not had the time we need to spend on the recce of the course because we have been so busy with the build of the car, but we are definitely targeting a win this week.
The 19th Targa Tasmania will take the field of 260 cars across 2000 competitive kilometres over the next six days, finishing in Hobart on Sunday May 2.
-source: targa tasmania