Tropical North Queensland has scored a new major tourism event for the next three years with the launch of Targa Great Barrier Reef.
The three-day car rally will see the field of around 200 cars visit all key regions, including Port Douglas, Innisfail and the Atherton Tablelands.
The new event, to be based in Cairns from 31 August to 2 September 2018, is modelled on the world’s largest tarmac rally, Targa Tasmania, which has been held annually on the Apple Isle since making its debut in 1992.
Queensland Tourism and Major Events Minister Kate Jones said she couldn’t wait to see Targa kick off in North Queensland. “With the backdrop of the Great Barrier Reef, this race will be an attractive proposition to Targa teams around the world,” she said.
“To have such an iconic sporting experience so close to one of Queensland’s most important natural assets will create a wonderful experience for teams and racegoers.
“Events like this deliver a valuable boost to the Tropical North Queensland economy – helping to attract visitors and support local jobs.
“I look forward to Targa becoming a permanent fixture on Queensland’s It’s Live! Event Calendar.”
Targa Great Barrier Reef will be a round of the four event CAMS Australian Targa Championship, which also includes Targa North West, Targa Tasmania, and Targa High Country in Victoria.
The extension of the series into Queensland was made possible through a three-year funding deal by Tourism & Events Queensland and Cairns Regional Council with series organiser, Targa Australia.
The cars will tackle 15 stages across more than 200 competitive kilometres on a course that covers more than 800 kilometres across Tropical North Queensland.
The event will start and finish each day in Cairns, with a Super Street Stage on the Saturday night bringing the action right into the heart of the city. Cairns will also host Targafest, where the cars are on display for fans to see close up, while regional towns will host a lunch stop each day which will see various local charities supported.
Underlining the scale of the event is the fact that more than 500 local officials and various community groups will be involved in its successful running.