ST. JOHN’S (September 6, 2012) — A decade after the first intrepid companies sent cars to a new event that promised to test their products on real roads in real conditions, Canada’s car makers are still putting their reputations — and their products — on the line at Canada’s longest and toughest motorsport event.
The 11th annual Targa Newfoundland will welcome the involvement of a new manufacturer to the fold this week when Fiat becomes the 15th manufacturer to contest the annual endurance event since its start in 2002.
In the decade since the first Targa Newfoundland, manufacturers have entered a total of 18 different auto brands in the annual September classic. The cars have been driven by professional race drivers, talented amateurs, corporate executives and even journalists. No single Canadian motorsport event has had more involvement from Canada’s auto industry.
For 2012, the companies have taken a variety of routes to involvement in Targa beyond preparing a car for the rigors of six grueling days of tarmac rallying. Two companies — long-time Targa entrant Subaru Canada and Toyota Canada — will support dealer-prepared teams: A pair of Subaru dealers have entered cars in the Modern competition that will raise funds for charity with the factory’s backing. Over in the Grand Touring event, a dealer-prepared Scion team will also help promote Targa’s official charity, the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador.
BMW’s MINI brand extends its involvement to 10 consecutive years with a new approach. Instead of entering its own cars, MINI will support its owners with a cash contingency for MINI teams that score top Division finishes.
Meanwhile, joining Fiat as a corporate presence on the starting line in 2012 will be two cars from Kia Canada, another long-time Targa entrant.
To date, cars with Kia, Subaru, MINI, Chrysler, Dodge, Nissan, Infiniti, Acura, Lexus, Audi, Scion, Porsche, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Hyundai, Fiat, SRT and Smart badges have represented their manufacturers in Newfoundland’s international rally showcase.
In the past, some car companies have sponsored individual teams driving their cars. Some have even entered old models with storied racing pasts.
Says Targa organizer Robert Giannou: “There is something undeniably appealing about real cars on real roads in real conditions. Carmakers know that when their products measure up at Targa, it is a real achievement worth boasting about.”
Owned and operated by Newfoundland International Motorsports Limited, Targa Newfoundland is one of three internationally recognized Targa motorsports events in the world. The 2012 competition starts in St. John’s on September 8 and concludes back in the capital on September 15. The 11th annual rally will cover more than 2,000 kilometres of the challenging, twisty roads of the central and eastern portion of Newfoundland, including up to 450 kilometres of closed-road, flat-out Targa stages.
From Targa Newfoundland