04/29/2009 Tasmania - Mazda Australia has once again taken on the challenge of the grueling Targa Tasmania. This year they are tackling the event with a pair of Mazda MPS (MazdaSpeed3s in the USA) and a very special Mazda RX-8SP Turbo. Follow the daily action with videos, audio, and pictures, on the very cool official Mazda event website at:
Mazda in Targa 2009
The Targa Mazda RX-8 SP
The RX-8 SP is a high-performance model of the standard Mazda RX-8 and a series of these special models have been produced locally. Other Mazda models that have worn the SP monkier include the MX-5 SP and the RX-7 SP and both have successfully competed in Targa.
The Mazda RX-8 SP is fitted with a Garrett turbocharger and is competing in the Modern Competition, so it is slightly more modified than the twin Mazda3 MPS showroom-spec rally cars.
Unlike most of its competitors the Mazda RX-8 SP will compete with standard audio equipment, power windows and carpets and upholstery intact. Suspension springs, shock absorbers, brake pads, seats, belts and the steering wheel have been replaced. A PCD roll cage has been added and, Sabelt racing seats with five-point safety harnesses, fire extinguishers and navigating equipment are added for safety.
The mufflers and the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) may also be modified. Catalytic converters remain standard. The engine, gearbox, differential and drivetrain remain standard.
DAY 1 & 2 REPORTS:
Day 1: Wednesday 29 April - Mazda Chases Showroom Lead and Modern Top Ten
Day 2: Thursday 30 April - Mazda Moves Up at Targa
The ultimate tarmac rally
Targa Tasmania is considered one of the world’s most challenging tarmac rallies. Mazda Motorsport has used the event as a proving ground for its line up of high-performance production cars since 1993.
The event is held over five days plus a Prologue, travelling 2000kms around Tasmania. The rally starts in Launceston and finishes five days later in Hobart. Prologue sets the event’s pace, seeding the fastest cars at the rear of the field for day one of racing. The competitive course comprises 450kms over 40 closed-road competition stages.
Cars are timed on each Targa stage and each stage has a target base time. Any time accrued over the base time is added to the car’s overall penalty time. The car that clocks the lowest penalty time is the outright winner in each competition.
Targa Tasmania is made up of three competitions; Modern Outright, Classic Outright and Showroom. Mazda Motorsport's twin Mazda3 MPS rally cars will contest the event’s Showroom competition while the Mazda RX-8 SP will contest the Modern Outright. All three cars are vying for outright glory.