Vroom, vroom vintage: Targa Newfoundland adds pre-1981 car class for 2018 race

Classic sports car enthusiasts, start your engines!

New category created after Ontario classic car club expressed interest in Targa races

Vintage pre-1981 cars like this 1953 MG TD now have their own class in the Targa Newfoundland races. (Submitted by Targa Newfoundland)

Targa Newfoundland is adding a new car category to its road races this September that will accommodate classic sports car enthusiasts.

2018 will be the first year that pre-1981 cars, which Targa calls its Grand Touring Vintage class, will be competing in the race.

Targa Newfoundland is a seven-day rally race that covers more than 1,600 kilometres of roads in eastern Newfoundland.

President Robert Giannou says pre-1981 cars have a hard time competing with more recent model sports cars that are more powerful. He said the decision was made to create a new class after being approached by a classic car club in Ontario.

Targa fans in Newfoundland can look forward to seeing cars like this one, a 1949 Cadillac Sedanette, in the 2018 event thanks to the creation of the Vintage Grand Touring class. (Submitted by Targa Newfoundland)

"We're quite excited about it. It will give a chance to people who want older cars to come in and run for awards within that class and have their own little class," he told CBC Radio's Central Morning.

"We have a lot of people with MGs, Triumphs, Sunbeam, Alpine – that vintage of sports cars. They all pretty much changed with electronic ignition and advanced transmission systems and even more sophisticated suspension systems after 1981."

Classic, but slower

The big factor though, is speed. A car built between 1981 and 1996 – known as a modern classic – race at speeds of up to 140 km/h. Giannou said most pre-1981 cars rarely maintain speeds of more than 110 km/h.

Giannou said the creation of the Vintage Touring Class will also be welcome news for people who had previously raced vintage cars but found it hard to keep up with newer vehicles.

"The basic design of Targa is that there's something for everybody," he said. "If you have a fast, high-performance car, we have a class for you. If you just want to have fun, we have a class for you."

A 1974 Datsun 260Z could hit the pavement in Newfoundland during Targa's 2018 event. (Submitted by Targa Newfoundland)

The race courses, known as stages, are also being altered this year.

The races will not be held in the Gander area due to the distance to travel there and the deteriorating condition of some of the roads. Instead the stages are expected to focus on the Burin Peninsula and parts of the eastern and central Avalon.

Full details on the 2018 Targa events will be confirmed this spring.

With files from Central Morning

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