@targanl • #GT40 • ST. JOHN’S, NL – An American racing legend that tore up the established sports car order of Europe, re-imagined by a company in South Africa, will be a headline attraction and fan favourite at Targa Newfoundland 2015.
The CAV GT, a pitch-perfect replica of the Ford GT40 that destroyed Ferrari’s stranglehold on the fabled 24 Hours of Le Mans, has been entered in the Classic Division of this September’s marathon tarmac rally. The most authentic replica possible of the cars that swept the 1966 Le Mans, the CAV GT will appear in the same blue/white/orange Gulf Oil livery that became synonymous with sports car racing supremacy.
The car will be entered and driven by Mark McDonald with co-driver James Bergeron in the left seat — the car is right-hand-drive!
For McDonald, it’s a welcome return to an event that has fascinated him since he first entered in the Grand Touring competition in 2013.
“Targa’s an education,” McDonald is quick to say. “We first entered in GT to help us understand the event. It was a great way to learn. We were going to return in 2014 but we were involved in the Canadian Rally Championship and there was a date conflict so we couldn’t come last year.”
The choice of the GT40 replica for his return to Targa was simple for McDonald.
“It’s cool!” he says. “It’s an iconic race in an iconic car! Unless you’ve experienced Targa first-hand, you can’t describe it. I had to bring this car.”
Volumes have been written on how Henry Ford II decided to confront Europe’s sports car racing establishment in the 1960s after his attempts to buy Ferrari were thwarted at the eleventh hour. The Ford GT40 was created by a special department within Ford tasked with building a car to win Le Mans, but it was only when the program was put into the hands of storied American racing entrepreneur Caroll Shelby in 1964 that it paid dividends.
Fifty years later, Ford has unveiled a modern version of the car and, in mid-June, announced it would take the new Ford GT to Le Mans again in 2016.
The replica GT40 is built to exacting standards in South Africa by Cape Advanced Vehicles (CAV), which has developed a reputation for its high quality and thoughtful modern refinements.
Considered the most authentic GT40 replica ever created, the car uses a stainless steel monocoque construction (vs the original steel) and resin-infused carbon fibre body to create a visually arresting two-seat, rear-engine sports racer with a nod to modern technologies. Purists will appreciate that it relies on Ford power: a 347 CID Ford V-8 turning out 450hp. It will undergo some minor suspension changes to be Targa-ready.
McDonald found the car at Legendary Motor Cars, a dealer and restorer of exotic cars in Ontario. He is its second owner.
“We’ve had every kind of exotic car you can imagine at Targa — Ferraris, Porsches, Lamborghinis, Maseratis — and every one is a thrill to see,” says Targa organizer Robert Giannou. “But this is a car that I guarantee will give enthusiasts goose-bumps! This is like having a big piece of racing history on a tour of Newfoundland. I can’t wait to see the fans’ reaction!”
McDonald and co-driver Bergeron are both from the Ottawa area. Targa 2015 will be their first event together. McDonald, who is keeping his skills sharp racing a potent Stohr WF1 sports racer in Formula Libra under his Bad Company Motorsports banner, coyly refers to himself as a farmer, although he admits to a career in construction.
Despite his remarkable car and recent racing achievements, McDonald’s objective for this year is modest. “We’re running for a (Targa) plate,” he confirms. “Anything more is a bonus.”
Owned and operated by Newfoundland International Motorsports Limited, Targa Newfoundland is one of three internationally recognized Targa motorsports events in the world. The 2015 competition will start in St. John’s on September 13 and concludes back in the capital on September 18. The annual rally will cover more than 1,600 kilometers of the challenging, twisty roads of the central and eastern portion of Newfoundland, including more than 440 kilometers of closed-road, flat-out Targa stages.
From Doug Mepham / Targa Newfoundland / Website: www.targanewfoundland.com