Ford GT40 replica joins Targa Tasmania new class

TUESDAY, JANUARY 28: An Australian-made replica of the Ford GT40 cars that dominated the Le Mans 24-hour sports car race in the late 1960s will be a star attraction in the new non-competition touring class in this year's Targa Tasmania tarmac ...

TUESDAY, JANUARY 28: An Australian-made replica of the Ford GT40 cars that dominated the Le Mans 24-hour sports car race in the late 1960s will be a star attraction in the new non-competition touring class in this year's Targa Tasmania tarmac rally.

The car is known as a Roaring Forties GT40 and will be driven by Launceston insurance broker Brendan Manion in the May 13-18 Targa rally, which is owned and produced by global sports and events marketing company Octagon.

Technical features of the car, which was built in Victoria, include a 450-horsepower Ford 302 V8 engine with Motec engine management system.

"This car is capable of doing 300km/h in a straight line, but in Targa we won't be doing anything like that because the touring class is all about cruising around the course and having some fun at street-legal speeds," said Manion.

"We can enjoy being part of Targa, without actually being involved in the racing side of things and that's a fantastic opportunity which opens the event up to a lot more people."

The touring class has been added to Targa this year and is for rare and exotic cars. Entrants will drive at street legal speeds over the Temco Prologue and 22 of the 44 stages contested by the four established categories in the event - Historic (for cars from 1900-46), Touring Classic (1947-65), Classic (1900-81), and Modern (1982-2003).

Manion said a factor in his decision to enter was the fact touring class competitors did not have to fit roll cages and other safety equipment in their cars as required for vehicles the four Competition categories.

"Obviously safety regulations are necessary for those people who are racing in Targa, but it's a lot of work and time to put roll cages and things into the car," said Manion.

"There are probably a lot of people like me who don't want to do that, and that's why it's good they've brought in the touring class because we can virtually run our cars as they are and still be part of the event."

"I think the touring class will create a lot of extra interest for spectators, both on the course and at the overnight stops, because cars like my GT40 look fantastic and there will be many others like that."

Another rare car entered in the touring class is a 1967 Ferrari 330GT, to be driven by Hobart businessman Peter Bignold.

Octagon Tasmania General Manager Rob McGuire said he was delighted with the interest being shown in the touring class.

"We've had enquiries from all over Australia, so there's obviously a lot of car enthusiasts out there who want to participate in Targa in a non-competitive way," he said

This year's rally will be the 12th annual Targa event in Tasmania since 1992, and will be contested over a total distance of 2,299km, with 464km in competitive stages.

Entries have increased to 244 in the four competitions, headed by six-times winner and 2002 Bathurst 1000 champion Jim Richards, who will race a Porsche 911 with Tasmanian navigator Barry Oliver.

Other leading entries confirmed include Tasmanians Jason White and John White, who finished third in the 2002 rally, in a turbocharged Nissan Skyline GTR, and 2001 runner-up Tony Quinn of Queensland in a Porsche 911.

Octagon is the global marketing-led sports and event marketing company. It offers worldwide expertise across all eight major sports and event marketing disciplines: athlete representation, consultancy, event management, property representation and sales, TV rights sales and distribution, TV production and archive, new media and licensing and merchandising.

Octagon is part of The Interpublic Group (NYSE:IPG), the world's largest advertising and marketing communications group. The Interpublic Group is the only marketing communications and services group with a global sports marketing capability. Octagon employs over 1,500 people in 24 countries on all major continents. For further information please visit: www.octagon.com

-www.targa.org.au

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Series Other rally
Drivers Jason White , Jim Richards , Tony Quinn