Targa's economic impact continues to grow
The economic impact of Targa Tasmania on its home state continues to surge, with a record 10 automotive manufacturers supporting teams at the 2010 event.
The companies represent some of the biggest names in the business, with Mazda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Skoda, Toyota, Audi, Hyundai, Porsche and Lamborghini all proving support to a range of competitors in the 19th running of the tarmac classic.
Not only are these companies supporting drivers, many will have a major management focus on the event, with several running significant public relations and marketing campaigns in the lead-up to, and during, the six day competition.
Event director, Mark Perry, says that 10 manufacturers is the most ever seen at Targa Tasmania and demonstrates how the event continues to grow in stature, both here and internationally.
"I really don't think we should underestimate the importance of Eric Bana's involvement in 2007 and the movie he made around his experience, 'Love the Beast', had on Targa," Perry said.
"The movie showcased the essence of the event, and the beauty of the state. Despite a tough economic environment over the last two years, we have been able to keep entry numbers up and see important growth in key areas, like manufacturer support.
"When you think that during this recent period, some rallies, like Classic Adelaide and the Sunshine Coast event, have folded, it makes the growth we are experiencing, even more significant.
"Our event is not static. We have introduced a manufacturer's competition to run alongside modern and classic in its status. We have been proactive in promoting our green credentials, which sees Toyota bringing a Hybrid car this year, and Mazda back with a diesel car for the second year.
"We are particularly excited to welcome Skoda, Hyundai and Audi to Targa Tasmania for the first time."
Mazda have a multifaceted interest in Targa. 2008 winner, Steve Glenney, heads their charge in modern, driving a Mazda RX8. Rising rally star, Brendan Reeves, will be behind the wheel of a Mazda3 MPS in the Manufacturer's section, while a number of entries are driving diesel variants.
"Mazda support the teams, but it also runs a major media campaign around it as well, with their own Targa specific website - http://www.mazda.com.au/targa/ -just one of the many activities they invest in," Perry said.
"Mazda also bring key media to Tasmania and a number of its top executives, because they want to see first hand this classic tarmac rally. It all adds up to a considerable investment in the Tasmanian economy, but they believe it produces real dividends for their company."
Targa Tasmania gets underway with the Temco Prologue in Geroge Town on Tuesday, April 26, and ends at Wrest Point in Hobart on Sunday, May 2.
After a 5.1 kilometre prologue around the streets of George Town to decide the event running order competitors tackle 39 Targa stages over a total competitive distance of over 400 kilometres.
The 19th Targa Tasmania is primarily based in Launceston, while the event also spends one night in the west coast town of Strahan, before finishing in Hobart on May 2.