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Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/25/23 1:03 p.m.

Some might know that I've run the Targa Newfoundland a couple of times. It's an epic race that's open to amateurs and there's nothing else like it in North America. The race is 5-6 days long depending on how you count the "prologue" day that's used for seeding/testing and has transits between the competitive stages. When it was introduced, the event ran all over the island.  In 2012 (IIRC), the event was scaled back into a more compact form that got rid of some of the iconic stages further away from St. Johns. For 2023, it expanded back over the island.

A quick primer: in the high speed Targa division, cars are given a target time to complete a stage. If you take longer than that time, you get 1 penalty point per second. The times get more aggressive as the event goes on, so it's impossible to complete without taking some penalties - and the penalties never go away. There are also ultimate speed limits for safety reasons.

There are three main divisions: Targa 2 (fully prepped rally cars with FIA spec cages), Targa 1 (much less prep, no cage) and Grand Touring (basically, TSD without the games).  The Targa 2 division gets the fastest target times and has the highest speed limit for fairly obvious reasons. There are a bunch of classes inside each of these divisions based on prep level and the age of the vehicle. Target times are set across the various classes to try to level the playing field, but it used to be biased towards older cars which is why there was a very successful BMW 2002 that took multiple overall victories about 15 years ago. The Targa 1 division is new for 2023 in an attempt to make the event more accessible.

Targa Newfoundland 2023 just wrapped up last weekend. It's the first time it's been run since 2019 and they brought back the full island-crossing experience. Unfortunately, there weren't a lot of entries. Only 2 in the full fat Targa 2 division. 4 entered the Targa 1 division, and 2 showed up the Grand Touring (basically TSD) division. The Tour group added 5 more entry fees. That's not enough to keep the event alive, as it costs as much to close a stage for 8 cars as it does for 80. When I first ran it in 2008, the field was nearly 70 cars. The lower entries mean higher entry fees, and of course that's a death spiral.

So if you want to run the Targa Newfoundland, do it in 2024. First, it'll help keep the event alive. Second, the current numbers are unsustainable so it may not survive much longer. Don't worry about classes, just do the safety prep and let your car fall wherever it ends up. Heck, rent a car and run Grand Touring using some kitchen timers from Walmart*. It's not a cheap event but it's a great bucket list event - better than going to Vegas to watch an F1 race for the same price. If you don't get out and do it, you may lose the chance.

 

* seriously, my Grand Touring  sister team in 2011 relied more on kitchen timers than the Terratrip we'd installed

BoulderG
BoulderG Reader
9/25/23 4:33 p.m.

Oh, hell yes. Keith, this may be the most exceptionally Enabling Post ever!

Thank you for your offer to provide constant, free consulting expertise to the dozens of GRMers who will at least start this project!

Here's the link - https://targanfld.com/    It's less than nine grand for entry, people! As Keith said, that's less than the cost of general admission seats and a cheeseburger at the Las Vegas F1 race.

Racebrick
Racebrick Reader
9/25/23 4:49 p.m.

I have wanted to do this event since I saw it on tv in the early 2000s.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/25/23 5:10 p.m.

I am happy to talk anyone's ear off about building a car or running this :) 

Here's the documentary about our 2011 run.
 

 

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
9/25/23 5:25 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Why you gotta go and post that and remind me i'm old?

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/25/23 5:30 p.m.

In reply to Mndsm :

YOU'RE old? Look at the kids in that video!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/25/23 5:56 p.m.

For those who don't want to put in the time to watch the long video, here's an illustration of the difference between Grand Touring (a precision sport) and Targa (go fast, baby) divisions. Really, this is just a very transparent reason to post one of my favorite videos. It's less than a minute long. Turn up the volume.

 

ddavidv
ddavidv UltimaDork
9/25/23 11:18 p.m.

I fell in love with TNF back when it was on Speedvision, or Speed, or whatever Fox decided to call it that week. I put some time into figuring out the logistics of running it. I'm on the eastern seaboard, so I don't have to travel across the country like Keith did.

I'm a very grassroots guy. I have money, but not an endless supply. To run in the competition (higher speed) class, I'd really need a crew. You have to pay for two not inexpensive ferry rides for everyone. It's a pretty big fuel bill just to get there and back. The entry fee wasn't insignificant, though at the time it was in line with the type of event it is. Then there is lodging, food and so on. The cash outlay was...a lot. Almost as much as the price of the car I intended to use.

The other killer was the time needed. The event is a week. It would have taken me something like four days of travel just to get there, and another four to get back. Getting more than a straight week off at work back then was impossible. It's only slightly less impossible at my current job.

This is not a criticism of the event. I still think it's wonderful, and it's a bucket list item (should it survive). But I'll only be able to do it post-retirement and with a healthy 401k to help bankroll it.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/26/23 12:42 a.m.

My crew was family and friends. Naturally, they did need to be fed and housed. Ferry I don't recall being a big factor in the grand scheme of things, but of course you've gotta get there! I seem to recall my diesel fuel bill being somewhere around $4000 in 2011 - 4000 miles to the start line, close to 1000 miles chasing the car around (without a trailer, at least) and 4000 miles back.

But that's just money. There are ways to get money. Time is definitely the killer. For me, it was a week to tow out, the week+ for the race, and a week to tow back. Add in a couple of days to visit family because I was in the neighborhood and it's basically a month. Obviously my employer was quite understanding about that but not everyone would be. When I'm explaining to people why I'm not doing it again, it's the time they understand. 

They have introduced a two-day version for those who don't have the time, but that's just the event itself. You still have all the same overhead. The quick way to do it would be to rent a car from someone who could deliver and support it for you and just fly in/out.

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
9/26/23 8:28 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

In reply to Mndsm :

YOU'RE old? Look at the kids in that video!

Fair. My kid wasn't born when this was made, he's 12 now. 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/26/23 8:57 a.m.

Definitely tempting.  Definitely Touring Division, since I don't really want to prep any of my cars for competition.  Right now, the challenge for me would be getting all of the vehicles ready.  Probably my GT6 and then I'd need to get the big van back on the road to tow it.  The other option would be my MINI, which I would just drive up there.

This seems right up Nonack's alley, although it's definitely a pricey event... 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
9/26/23 9:22 a.m.

At this price, I think I'll just run a whole season of rally instead.  Maybe some day.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
9/26/23 9:48 a.m.

Not mentioned in all of the above is the nature of the Newfies themselves. If there is a more welcoming bunch of people anywhere, I have yet to find them. 

 

Pete

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/26/23 10:25 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

Thanks for posting that. So the entry fee for the full Targa is just over $7100 USD today, and just over $7500 starting next week. I think there's tax on top of that too. It's never been a cheap date, that's for sure. The Bambina has two days of competitive closed stages, the first two days are the skills training (well worthwhile IMO) and the prologue.

And NOHOME is bang on about Newfies.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/26/23 10:29 a.m.

Holy E36 M3 that's expensive. I'm not saying it's not worth it but I was reading your post, Keith, thinking "Yeah, that sounds amazing, I'll take the Miata up there."

That cost ain't in the cards. That's my racing budget for many, many years. 

 

stroker
stroker PowerDork
9/26/23 10:33 a.m.

Killing that event should be regarded as a Crime Against Humanity.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
9/26/23 10:35 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I will say, there ARE teams in north america that spend that much on a single rally regularly- they're just probably not here on GRM.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/26/23 10:39 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I gather it also doesn't include logistical expenses during the event either - hotel rooms, meals (other than lunch?), etc...  So I'd figure on added another few $K for that.  

I wish the website had more information about the logistics. Start-finish locations. Hotels. Etc.  To be able to make a better estimate about how someone could do this with a minimal support crew (or none).  And how feasible it would be to use an RV as tow/support/hotel. 

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
9/26/23 10:55 a.m.

Well if you're going to twist my arm...

More seriously, it sounds like you'll have a blast regardless of what class you enter. I'd sign up in a heartbeat if I had that kind of cash.

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso UltraDork
9/26/23 11:06 a.m.

And they say money can't buy happiness... But it can buy you entry into Targa Newfoundland. 

TR7
TR7 Reader
9/26/23 11:41 a.m.

So from my understanding, all the competing cars need to be street legal. I glanced at the rules, and did see an insurance requirement, but road registration seems kinda ambiguous. Is there a way that competition cars can get event insurance/road registration? For example, we have a 944 spec car, we dont have a title so cant register it for the street locally. Is there a workaround or would we be SOL for that car? 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/26/23 12:13 p.m.

In reply to Ian F (Forum Supporter) :

This page does tell you where the overnight stops are. I remember that when I ran it there was an associated travel agency that would take care of all the hotel bookings for you. It doesn't change overnight locations as much today as it used to, looks like it's St. Johns/Gander/Clarenville.

You could certainly do support with an RV, I remember at least one following the race around in 2011. Start/finish locations aren't really available until the stages are locked down, but it's easy enough for the support crew to follow. In 2008, our support crew was my mom and dad and my Toyota Tundra with some spare tires and tools in the truck. They were mostly just driving the truck, I did all of the care and feeding of the car.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/26/23 12:41 p.m.
TR7 said:

So from my understanding, all the competing cars need to be street legal. I glanced at the rules, and did see an insurance requirement, but road registration seems kinda ambiguous. Is there a way that competition cars can get event insurance/road registration? For example, we have a 944 spec car, we dont have a title so cant register it for the street locally. Is there a workaround or would we be SOL for that car? 

All the cars are issued special Newfoundland road registration that's valid for one week. The organizers had no problem issuing one to the preproduction prototype Global Cup MX-5 I was going to run in 2015 (until the Mazda lawyers got nervous) despite the fact that the car probably didn't even have a VIN.

One thing that does make the event stand out is that the organizers look for ways to make things work instead of throwing roadblocks in your way. They're enablers. If you contact them with your 944 Spec question, they'll come up with a solution. 

BA5
BA5 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/26/23 12:53 p.m.

Could I load up the minivan with the family and run GT?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/26/23 1:03 p.m.

You know, I don't think I've ever seen anything in the rulebook that says you can't have MORE than two people in the vehicle :)

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