Murray Walker fulfils long-time ambition to compete in Targa Tasmania MONDAY, MAY 12: Legendary motorsport commentator Murray Walker says he will fulfil a long-time ambition when he competes in the 2003 Targa Tasmania tarmac rally, which starts...
Murray Walker fulfils long-time ambition to compete in Targa Tasmania
MONDAY, MAY 12: Legendary motorsport commentator Murray Walker says he will fulfil a long-time ambition when he competes in the 2003 Targa Tasmania tarmac rally, which starts tomorrow and continues until Sunday.
The 79-year-old Briton, who retired from Formula One commentating two years ago, will be navigator in a Toyota Team Racing Camry Sportivo driven by Colin Bond, a past winner of the Bathurst 1000, the Australian Touring Car Championship, and Australian Rally Championship.
"When I stopped commentating I had a list of the things I wanted to do, such as visiting the world's great motoring museums, going to the Isle of Man motorcycles, an event dear to my heart, and the Targa Tasmania, which is one of the world's great rallies," said Walker.
"I have visited Australia many times for the Formula One grand prix and it has been a long-held ambition of mine to come to Tasmania and take part in Targa. Thanks to Toyota here I am and I am positively thrilled about it."
Walker, who arrived in Launceston after visiting Cairns and the Hunter Valley region, said his past active motorsport involvement had been racing motorcycles in his early years, and revealed he had limited rallying experience.
"I am here to enjoy the event, and everything about it," said Walker. "Colin and I are not going for the outright win, but we have a fabulous motor car and we will take things as they come."
Walker said that he retained a vital interest in Formula One, and had been impressed with Australia's Mark Webber, who made his debut with the Minardi team in 2002 and joined Jaguar this year.
Assessing Webber's future, Walker believes the Australian has the ability to win grand prix races and possibly become the country's first world champion since Alan Jones in 1980.
"Mark Webber has brought strong leadership to Jaguar this year, and I was pleased to see he recently signed a multi-year deal to continue with them," said Walker. "I have watched Mark's career develop through Formula Ford, sports cars, Formula 3000, and then with Minardi and he has done very well."
"One of Mark's strengths is his ability to pull a team together and provide direction with development. He is also a cracking good driver who will win grands prix."
The Targa rally, which is owned and produced by global sports and events marketing company Octagon, will this year be contested over a total distance of 2,299km, with 464km competitive, plus the Temco Prologue.
There are 259 entries, including six-times champion Jim Richards, and Tasmanian navigator Barry Oliver in a Porsche 911, and multiple Bathurst 1000 winner Peter Brock and V8 Supercar star Steven Richards in works-supported V8 Holden Monaros.
The four competitions in Targa are Shannons Historic (for cars from 1900-46), Shannons Touring Classic (1947-65), Classic (1900-81), and Modern (1982-2003). There is also a new non-competition Shannons Tour class for rare and exotic historic and classic cars.
The official start is at the Country Club Resort, Launceston, with the first car departing at 9.30am. The Temco Prologue at George Town begins at 12.15pm.