Mazda's rally history may not be as rich as some other Japanese marques, but Mazda Australia is more than willing to set the record straight. For their eighth Targa Tasmania excursion, held from April 15-20, Mazda will use a brand new Mazda3 MPS rally car.
Mazda Motorsport chief Allan Horsley heads the team consisting of Rick Bates and Alister McRae and their co-drivers who will compete in the 2WD Showroom competition. Targa Tasmania rules state that the rally cars must be mostly standard, meaning that drivers will compete in cars featuring audio systems, electric windows and carpets and upholstery in tact. Additional safety equipment (roll-cage, five-point harness and fire extinguishers), as well as navigation equipment and extra brake ventilation, is fitted of course.
"The team learned a lot from last year's event," says Bates. "With one Targa in the Mazda3 MPS under our belts we're all a lot more educated in terms of vehicle preparation and conservation during the event." The Targa Tasmania covers 2,000 km over five days of competition.
The Mazda 3 MPS rally car is powered by a 2.3 liter direct injection, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 190kW (255 hp) with 380 Nm of torque and is coupled to a six-speed manual. It weighs 1403 kg and uses 320mm ventilated brakes in front and 280 solid discs in the rear.
Follow Mazda's 2008 Targa assault at www.mazda.com.au/targa