Targa Great Barrier Reef will be a round of the four event CAMS Australian Targa Championship
The new event, to be based in Cairns from August 31 to September 2 next year, is modelled on the world’s largest tarmac rally, Targa Tasmania, which has been held annually on there since making its debut in 1992. The 200 cars will tackle 15 stages across more than 200 competitive kilometres on a course that covers more than 800 kilometres across Tropical North Queensland.
The event will start and finish each day in Cairns, with a Super Street Stage on the Saturday night bringing the action right into the heart of the city. Cairns will also host Targafest, where the cars are on display for fans to see close up, while regional towns will host a lunch stop each day which will see various local charities supported. Underlining the scale of the event is the fact that more than 500 local officials and various community groups will be involved in its successful running.
Targa Australia director Mark Perry says he is excited with the expansion of the championship. “The secret to the long-term success of Targa Tasmania is that it is a tourism destination event built around a passion for the motor vehicle,” he said.
“It attracts people and their cars from right around Australia, and overseas. It’s a format that sees the event travel to the fans, stopping at a number of towns along the way, meaning it’s not just one town or one city that is the winner and our `stadium’ covers thousands of square kilometres of iconic landscapes that will showcase the region to the world.”
Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Pip Close said Targa Great Barrier Reef would showcase Cairns, Port Douglas, the Atherton Tablelands and the Cassowary Coast to a new audience around the world.
“We are seeing increasing numbers of Asian competitors at events like Ironman Asia-Pacific and the Great Barrier Reef Marathon and this event will further appeal to these markets,” she said.
“With new flights from China in December added to our direct connections from Singapore and Japan we have the opportunity to further grow Tropical North Queensland as an international sports event destination.”
The extension of the series into Queensland was made possible through a three-year funding deal by Tourism & Events Queensland and Cairns Regional Council with series organiser, Targa Australia.