Targa Newfoundland is one of the most challenging road rallies in the world. CarBuzz signs on as official media partner as Vivid Racing tackles the legendary maritime rally.
Targa. Beyond semi-convertible Porsches, the very name conjures up images of classic cross-country races in locations as exotic as Tasmania and Sicily. But one such event takes place right here in America - or North America, anyway, and one of its furthest extremes at that. We're talking, of course, about Targa Newfoundland, a week-long rally that takes competitors across 1,400 miles of road in Canada's easternmost province, almost as close to Greenland as it is to the east coast of the United States.
The event takes place every September, and this year CarBuzz has teamed up with Vivid Racing for an inside look at what makes the rally one of the greatest motorsport events on this side of the Atlantic, if only just barely. Having participated in events like the Gumball 3000 and the Bullrun five times prior, the Vivid Racing team is competing in Newfoundland this year in a Porsche 911 Turbo S - arguably the ultimate version of the 997-generation model (with the possible exception of the more extreme 911 GT2 RS) - with 530 horsepower driving all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission for a 3.3-second 0-62 time and a 196mph top speed.
Vivid outfitted theirs with a set of Agency Power wheels, Toyo R888 tires and, most importantly, the CarBuzz logo just below the 911's signature ovoid headlamps. In preparation for five days of racing (plus a Prologue day before the first leg), the Vivid Racing team drove up to Newfoundland in a thirteen-hour road trip that ended up taking seventeen (due to heavy rain that didn't agree with the car's R-compound tires) and included a ferry ride. Once on the island, the team geared up for the Prologue day that took them out to the provincial capital of St. Johns, stopping along the way to meet some of the competitors before heading north to Avalon for the Leg 1.
The first day of proper competition started in Holyrood on a narrow ribbon of tarmac snaking in between houses and woods, followed by a second stage in Marysvale, heading uphill and over a jump.
The third stage commenced after lunch in Sunnyside over rolling hills, off-camber turns, through a residential neighborhood that altogether reminded the guys from Vivid of the Nurburgring, save for the finish wharf. The proximity of the race route to local houses was highlighted when an E46-gen BMW M3 spun out onto someone's lawn.
The sixth and seventh stages unfolded in Goosberry, through a small town and down a road riddled with potholes and uneven pavement that proved difficult to drive at speed. Further demonstrating how quickly things can go wrong, officials had to temporarily stop the race when a Subaru Impreza WRX STi went off into the trees at over 170 km/h.
Finally the day wound up with the transit stage to Gander as tropical storms or even hurricanes threatened to flood the area with rain, which could make for some difficult racing. Check out the photos and videos, and watch this space for more updates as Vivid Racing tackles Targa Newfoundland.