Mazda man aiming for class victory
David Potter's immaculately prepared 1975 Mazda RX3 is his pride and joy, and with class victories from the past two Targa Tasmanias, it's a car to watch in 2009.
Potter, from Sydney's northern beaches, had the car built five years ago, and has contested Australia's ultimate tarmac rally on three previous occasions. With current co-driver, Stuart Hatton, they won their Late Classic Competition class in 2007 and 2008.
Thirty-eight year old Potter purchased the car as a bare shell from outback Queensland. The father of two then began the restoration of the vehicle, which has turned it into one of the country's most successful Mazda RX3s.
"I obtained a logbook for the car in 2005 and it has been developed over the past five years by Tweak It workshop in Mona Vale, who also crew for us in Tasmania," Potter explains.
"The car has been in 'Hot 4s' magazine, on the cover of 'Hot 4s Old School Special' issue, and is used by Tweak It as representation of their workshop and craftsmanship. Unique Cars have also done a Rotary special with a bit on the car."
The little Mazda sports a 13B peripheral port engine, Porsche GT3 Brembo 4 piston brakes all round, and big 15 x 7" wheels. Fuel is pumped into the engine via modified 52mm Weber carburettors, while a Bond roll cage and Sparco race seats keep the occupants safe in the event of an accident.
Potter's driving receives regular tweaking as well as he assists in promoting Ian Luff's "Track Attack" driver training days at Oran Park Raceway in Sydney's south west. His entry into Targa Tasmania every year, however, is a dream come true.
"As a child growing up I was fascinated by cars, and Targa had such a broad scope of old vehicles which appealed to me. They have some brilliant roads in Tasmania and the fact it is all tarmac makes the event really appealing to me."
After two class wins in a row, a third win and a Gold Trophy is the obvious goal in 2009, although Potter is well aware of the task ahead.
"As we run in a C3 class car, time penalties are heavy for category wins. A top 20 result overall in the Late Classic Competition would be great once again, but as with anyone in Targa, I think you always need to me mindful that the first goal is to finish."
But while their current focus is aimed at Targa Tasmania in 2009, the team are already looking to the future, with the very real possibility that they will update the RX3.
"We'd love to compete in Targa with a car that is a possible category winner," Potter adds. "We have one of Ian Luff's old race cars a Series 1 Mazda RX7 that we are currently developing.
"The car has some real history, and we'd love to be able to use it for the 2010 edition of Targa."
The 18th Targa Tasmania begins with a prologue in George Town on April 28. Primarily based in Launceston, the event also spends one night in the west coast town of Strahan, before finishing in Hobart on May 3.