Tarmac: Targa Tasmania news 2009-04-21

Fans to love this spider Motoring enthusiasts will have a chance to see Adam Spence's magnificent 1996 Renault Sport Spider work its way around Symmons Plains for the Targa Tasmamnia media day on Monday April 27, before it then go on display...

Fans to love this spider

Motoring enthusiasts will have a chance to see Adam Spence's magnificent 1996 Renault Sport Spider work its way around Symmons Plains for the Targa Tasmamnia media day on Monday April 27, before it then go on display at the Silverdome for the remainder of the event.

Spence, a senior manager with the Vodafone company, purchased the car from the UK, where it had been raced in a ‘Spider Trophy' one-make series, which ran in conjunction with the British Touring Car Championship.

With a 144kW engine and weighing just 854 kilograms, the Renault Sport Spider was always intended to be the basis for one-make race series', and Spence fell in love with the car while living in London.

There were only about 60 of the cars ever built, and only three of those made their way to Australian shores.

The car runs a six-speed Sadev sequential gearbox and has a top speed of 250 km/h – not bad from a 1995cc normally aspirated, four-cylidner engine. In race trim, the cars were exciting to watch and helped to produce some of Britain's best touring car drivers, including Jason Plato and Andy Priaulx.

In 1999, Priaulx won all 13 races in the series, and started from pole position in every race.

For Targa Tasmania, Spence will be co-driven by the UK's Jason Choy, however the Spider's fragile gearbox means that the car will only be seen competitively at the media day. After that, it will be on display at the Launceston Silverdome, where Targa fans will get a close look at the car.

Spence drove the Spider in Targa in 2007 and 2008, but says the car needs some work before tackling the full event again.

"I'd love to be driving the Spider for the entire event, but we need to have some special parts made for the gearbox, which we ran out of time to do," Spence said.

"So Jason and I will do the media day in the Spider, before switching to a 2008 Mazda MX5 for the event proper."

Spence and Choy campaigned the MX5 in January's Targa Wrest Point in Hobart, but were forced to retire from the Showroom Category with mechanical problems.

But it's the awesome looking Renault Sport Spider that's expected to attract most of the attention. With it's distinctive Vodafone livery, the car looks like a mini version of Craig Lowndes' V8 Supercar, which in itself is guaranteed to attract plenty of eager fans.

-credit: tt

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