TARMAC: Targa Tasmania pre-race notes

REIGNING CHAMPION BATTLES FOR TITLE HOLD IN LAMBORGHINI Retiring the 'old faithful' Nissan Skyline GT-R he manoeuvred to outright victory at this year's Targa Tasmania, next year local driver Jason White will be battling for back-to-back...

REIGNING CHAMPION BATTLES FOR TITLE HOLD IN LAMBORGHINI

Retiring the 'old faithful' Nissan Skyline GT-R he manoeuvred to outright victory at this year's Targa Tasmania, next year local driver Jason White will be battling for back-to-back wins at the 15th anniversary event from April 25 -- 30 driving a Lamborghini Gallardo.

The 33-year-old Hydraulic Engineer from Hobart will be at the wheel of the factory-entered Gallardo driven by Nations Cup champion Paul Stokell at the 2005 event.

The Gallardo is the most recent addition to a collection of cars owned by White's uncle and long-time navigator John White.

Being such a huge transition from the Skyline to the Lamborghini, White says a successful campaign at next year's event will be dependent upon careful technical preparation coupled with his ability to adapt to a whole new style of driving.

"The shift to the Gallardo has meant for a complete change in driving technique, while the Skyline was heavier in the front the Lamborghini is heavier in the rear," said White. "Based on the time I've already had in the car there is still a lot of work to do on refining the brakes, suspension, tyres and clutch."

The Whites have entered the Gallardo in next year's event as a replica 2006 model taking advantage of factory upgrades seen across the 2006 Gallardo model range, including improvements to the clutch and closer gear ratios.

"We are hoping that the revised 2006 'specs' will get us off the line quicker, but we now know what work is involved in ensuring the Gallardo is an all-round quick car."

The car's suitability to an endurance event like Targa Tasmania was well proven this year with Stokell managing a steady lead in the event before an incident on the third day forced him to withdraw from the event.

After only a few months of preparation the 'White Hot' duo have already got their Targa Tasmania title reclaim off to a positive start, obtaining third outright at the recently folded East Coast Targa event.

"We used East Coast Targa as a practice run, and we came away learning a lot about the car."

Devonport businessman John White is also confident that the latest additional to his arsenal will stand up to the pace of repeatedly competitive drivers in the event's drivetravel.com Modern Competition, though admits the road to discovering the car's full potential will be a long one.

"It will be good for Jason to be behind the wheel of a car that he only has to drive nine tenths in, it will be good to take the pressure off him," said 56-year-old White. "The Gallardo is a whole new world from the Nissan so it will take a while to discover the intricacies of the vehicle."

Presenting as the greatest threat to the 'White Hot' Lamborghini will be seven-time Bathurst champion Jim Richards who is likely to opt for a four-wheel-drive Porsche Turbo for the 2006 event, a switch back to his own 'old faithful' that has already secured him seven Targa Tasmania victories.

"Jim is certainly the man to beat in a turbo Porsche, as he is going to be quick in all types of weather," said Jason White. "Our strategy in the Lamborghini is the reverse of that used in the GT-R, which is to be quicker than everyone in the dry."

"We certainly didn't purchase this car to go slower."

-www.targa.org.au

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