North Queensland will host a new major tourism event for the next three years with the launch of Targa Great Barrier Reef, a three-day car rally that will see the field of around 200 cars visit all key regions, including Port Douglas, Innisfail and the Atherton Tablelands.
The new event, to be based in Cairns from 31 August to 2 September next year, is modelled on the world’s largest tarmac rally, Targa Tasmania, which has been held annually on the Apple Isle since making its debut in 1992.
Targa Great Barrier Reef will be a round of the four event CAMS Australian Targa Championship, which also includes Targa North West, Targa Tasmania, and Targa High Country in Victoria.
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.
The two hundred cars expected to take part in the 2018 event will represent a cavalcade of motoring history from pre-war classics right through to the latest exotic supercars.
The 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.
Targa Australia director, Mark Perry, 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.
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.” Perry said.