A vast array of the world’s most exotic and rare machinery continues to tackle Targa Tasmania, with the 2019 edition of the tarmac classic taking place from April 29 to May 4 and attracting over 260 vehicles.
In what has become a competitive rolling museum that represents car manufacturing from the present to the dawn of the industry early last century, Targa is the essence all things automotive.
It is a window to the past, present and the future.
Since its inception in 1992, there have been eight different marques which have taken outright honours in the six-day test.
Porsche is the most successful, taking 11 outright victories from the 27 events held to date.
Nissan and Lamborghini are the next best with four outright wins with Subaru, Dodge and Honda each taking two wins with Mitsubishi and Toyota taking respective wins.
Well known Launceston car dealer and decorated circuit racer Greg Crick struck first blood by landing the first two Targa Tasmania rallies in the mid-engined Honda NSX super coupe.
In 1994 touring car racer and northern NSW car dealer Andrew Miedecke got the ball rolling for Porsche, claiming victory in a 944.
Incredibly, eight of Porsche’s victories were delivered by the sublime Jim Richards and co-driver Barry Oliver.
The pair are the kings of the event winning in 1996-1998, 2000-2003 and 2006.
Most of the Richards/Oliver triumphs came in the Zuffenhausen maker’s 911 Turbo models with the others in GT3 and GT2 machinery.
Jason White and co-driver John White gave Lamborghini its four wins in Gallardo models after their first Targa Tasmania outright win came in a Nissan GT-R.
Winning the last two editions of Targa in their powerful Dodge Viper, the Whites are now one step away from equalling the Richards/Oliver record of eight outright victories.
Subaru’s twin victories were achieved by Tony Sullens in 2004 and 2007, both in WRX machinery.
Toyota’s sole victory to date came at the hands of its former high flying factory gravel rally ace Neal Bates who together with regular co-driver Coral Taylor took the spoils in a Celica GT-Four.
Mitsubishi saw its only win to date in 2008 with Steve Glenny and Bernie Webb saluting in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX RS.
The Whites are once again short-priced favourites to claim honours in the GT2 category in their Viper.
Unbeaten in four straight Targa outings since the Tasmanian showpiece event almost 12 months ago, the Whites are the benchmark of the discipline.
However the competition remains red hot in the outright arena with a new player joining the frey in 2019.
Hyundai is taking a serious plunge against the proven tarmac competition by recently announcing a fully blown factory effort.
The maker’s WRC development driver Brendan Reeves will take charge of a i30 N with sister Rhianon Gelsomino as co-driver.
A newcomer to the hot hatch market the i30 N, powered by a two-litre twin-scroll turbo-charged engine that produces 202kW of power and 353Nm of torque, has been critically acclaimed in the motoring world.
Targa Tasmania kicks off with the official start at the Launceston Country Club on April 29.
Targa Tasmania honour roll – outright winners
1992 Greg Crick/Greg Preece, Honda NSX
1993 Greg Crick/Greg Preece, Honda NSX
1994 Andrew Miedecke/Alan Taylor, Porsche 944 Turbo Cup
1995 Neal Bates/Coral Taylor, Toyota Celica GT-Four (ST205)
1996 Jim Richards/Barry Oliver, Porsche 911 Turbo (993)
1997 Jim Richards/Barry Oliver, Porsche 911 Turbo (993)
1998 Jim Richards/Barry Oliver, Porsche 911 Turbo (993)
1999 Peter Fitzgerald/Michael Mansour, Porsche 911 Turbo (993)
2000 Jim Richards/Barry Oliver, Porsche 911 GT3 CS
2001 Jim Richards/Barry Oliver, Porsche 911 Turbo (996)
2002 Jim Richards/Barry Oliver, Porsche 911 Turbo (996)
2003 Jim Richards/Barry Oliver, Porsche 911 GT3 CS
2004 Tony Sullens/Julia Rabbett, Subaru Impreza WRX STi S202
2005 Jason White/John White, Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec N1 (R34)
2006 Jim Richards/Barry Oliver, Porsche 911 GT2 CS (996)
2007 Tony Sullens/Julia Barkley, Subaru Impreza WRX Type RA (GC8)
2008 Steve Glenney/Bernie Webb, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX RS
2009 Tony Quinn/Naomi Tillett, Nissan GT-R
2010 Jason White/John White Lamborghini, Gallardo Reiter Super Trofeo Strata
2011 Tony Quinn/Naomi Tillett, Nissan GT-R
2012 Jason White/John White, Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo Stradale
2013 Jason White/John White, Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo Stradale
2014 Jamie Vandenberg/Dennis Sims, Nissan GT-R
2015 Jason White/John White, Lamborghini Gallardo Squadra Corse
2016 Matt Close/Cameron Reeves, 2015 Porsche 911 GT3
2017 Jason White/John White, Dodge Viper
2018 Jason White/John White, Dodge Viper