Targa Britannia launched at Autosport International

Targa Britannia, a race and rally tour for modern cars, was launched at Autosport International today (Thursday, 12 January 2012). The event, which will run in parallel to the well-established Tour Britannia (7-9 June) will open this type of competition to owners of modern cars, having previously only been accessible to those in classic pre ’75 machinery. The traditional event for pre ’75 cars will run to its well-established and popular format.Targa Britannia will give competitors the chance to tackle a unique event in British motor sport, with three full days of competition including three races and quality asphalt special stages at up to a dozen venues including the Harewood hillclimb and the sensational Oliver’s Mount motorcycle course. The competition car is driven between each venue, providing a challenge for both driver and co-driver as the public road route takes in some glorious British scenery. The total competitive element makes the tour excellent value for money when compared to single-day race meetings and the vibrant social atmosphere will add to the sense of occasion.The existing Tour Britannia will remain the province of the older cars and will remain unchanged. The two events will share a common route, taking in three races and a series of asphalt special stages during three days of competition. The event will be based at Harrogate and includes races at Croft, Cadwell Park and Mallory Park.In 2011, Mike Smith and Ian Ashley contested an invitation class of Tour Britannia in a Caterham R500 when their intended Porsche 911RSR hit gearbox problems just before the event. “It was a fantastic experience,” said Smith. “I don’t think anyone had ever competed across the Epynt ranges in the rain in an R500 before.”Now, event organiser Alec Poole has decided to open the tour up to more modern cars. “We think there are plenty of competitors out there with modern machinery who would like the chance to tackle something rather different,” said Poole.Targa Britannia will be open to any post ’75 road legal car, including sports, GT and saloon cars capable of carrying a crew of two, and complying with MSA race regulations. This covers items like roll cage, fire extinguisher, harnesses and towing eyes. Drivers must have race licences, while the co-driver only needs a basic MSA licence, available from £39.There will be three classes: up to 1600cc, 1600cc to 2000cc and over 3000cc. The organisers will cap the field at 35 cars to allow the entire Targa field to compete in a single race, while the main Targa award will be based on an Index of Performance to give the less powerful cars an equal chance of success. Team prizes will be awarded within the Targa event.Co-drivers will work with a straightforward road book to guide their driver from one venue to another. The co-drivers stay in the car for the special stages, but leave it to the drivers at the race circuits.Finally, to make the event as flexible as possible for potential entrants, competitors can join in for a single day if they wish but would not be eligible for any awards other than ‘Driver of the Day’. Their day will run for 24 hours from 6pm the previous evening so that cars can be scrutineered and paperwork completed before having dinner and then being ready to start the following morning.