The 101st Targa Florio race, to be held in Sicily from April 20 to 23, will be a special edition, marked by the sign of continuity and also being the new, opening act of the second century of its glorious history.
Originally conceived, funded and organised by Palermo magnate Vincenzo Florio for the purpose of establishing a “practical and precise criterion for assessing the travelling car”, the race has been held in various forms ever since 1906. Run in its modern form by the Palermo Automobile Club in association with its national parent organisation, the event involves three competitions, held simultaneously: “Targa Florio Rally”, “Targa Florio Historic Rally” and “Targa Florio Classic”, a regularity competition which forms part of the Campionato Italiano Grandi Eventi AciSport season.
Alfa Romeo and Abarth are the main sponsor of 101st Targa Florio. These two brands will dedicate special attention to “a Cursa” and they will be involved in different initiatives. While Alfa Romeo will follow closely Targa Florio Classic, Abarth will be closer to the Targa Florio Rally race.
Alfa Romeo recorded some of the finest achievements in its racing history at the Targa Florio by winning 10 overall victories, 3 second places, 7 third places and 10 fastest laps. As well as this amazing tally, the brand also holds two records: for consecutive victories (6 wins from 1930 to 1935) and for first and second finishes in the same year (five times). This is not to mention the many class wins, with the Giulietta SZ and the Giulia GTA, TZ and TZ2.
To celebrate this illustrious racing history, Alfa Romeo is taking part in the Targa Florio classic with four splendid cars from its Museo Storico Alfa Romeo – La macchina del tempo at Arese.
The Fiat brand also has an illustrious history of participation in the Targa Florio. Fiat cars achieved victory in the historic Sicilian race on no fewer than three occasions.
Marking the double anniversary of its first win at the event (by Felice Nazzaro at the race’s second edition, in 1907) and its last – by Fabio Colonna in the historic regularity edition in 1957 – the Fiat brand will be on the starting line of the Targa Florio classic with one of its most iconic cars, also launched in 1957: the 500.
Abarth boasts a splendid tradition of successes in the Targa Florio speed competition, including the many class wins achieved with the 1000 SP – a nimble sports car ideally suited to the Madonìe roads – and with the 124 Rally model in the final Seventies editions of the event. Since the Targa Florio was transformed from a speed race to a rally, Abarth has recorded several overall victories: two with the Abarth 131 Rally, in 1979 with Adartico Vudafieri and in 1980 with Mario Pasetti, and two in 2003 and 2004 with the Fiat Punto Super 1600, driven in both cases by Paolo Andreucci, who also won in 2006 in the Abarth Grande Punto S2000. The same model was first to pass the finish line in 2009 with Luca Rossetti at the wheel. Abarth can also lay claim to the 9 overall first places won by the Lancia Rally, Lancia Delta S4 and Integrale, all cars
developed by Abarth engineers.
This year, two new Abarth 124 spider cars will act as trail-blazers for the Targa Florio Rally and Historic Rally. This will grant spectators a close look at the thrusting roadster developed with input from the Abarth Racing Team, which provides all the driving pleasure and technical features expected from high-end sports cars, such as the mechanical self-locking differential. Under the bonnet is a powerful, ultra- reliable 1.4 litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine with MultiAir technology. It delivers 170 HP (about 124 HP per litre) and 250 Nm of torque, giving a top speed of 232 km/h. What’s more, since engine sound is a fundamental of all Abarth cars, standard equipment includes Record Monza exhaust with Dual Mode system that
modifies the path of the exhaust gas according to pressure, guaranteeing linear torque and power delivery while also generating a strong, deep roar. The new Abarth 124 spider is available with a six-speed manual or automatic Sports Sequential Esseesse gearbox.
In addition, the “Rally Targa Florio” will also include the third round of the “Trofeo Abarth 124 Rally Selenia”, starring the brand’s new sports cars, which are rapidly establishing themselves as the cars to beat in the R-GT category. The first two races in the Italian R-GT Championship were won by the Abarth 124 Rally of young Ligurian driver Fabrizio Andolfi Jr, whose victories placed him at the top of the overall standings ahead of the Sicilian Salvatore Riolo, also at the wheel of the Abarth 124 Rally. Impressive performances were also recorded both in the Rally Il Ciocco and in the Rallye di Sanremo.
After winning the race several times, Porsche named the hardtop convertible version of the 911 after the Targa. The name targa means plaque or plate, see targa top.
The Australian-made Leyland P76 had a special version named Targa Florio to commemorate victory by journalist-rallyist Evan Green on a Special Stage of the 1974 London-Sahara-Munich World Cup Rally which was held on the Targa Florio course.
The ambition to be part of the Targa Florio and the competitive spirit of each true motorsport and automotive lover lead many drivers to race the Targa Florio of the third millennium. Some drivers take part in it for the first time, some others come back every year on the roads between Palermo, the Madonie Mountains and the Mediterranean coasts, just like David Anglard and his 1968 Lancia Fulvia Zagato Competizione from the United States, but also John and Timothy Piccin with their 1952 Ermini 1100 Sport.
From Germany come Christof Von Branconi and Ming Yuan from Shanghai on a 1975 Jensen Interceptor Convertibile and Watanabe Takashi e Sugiura with a 1957 Bandini 750 S Saponetta del 1957.
From Czech Republic Pavel Zabran and Pollak Jirka will race on their 1925 Tatra Special Targa Florio, then the Dutch crew formed by Pieter Van Berkel and Carola Adrighem with their 1939 Fiat 500 Sport Zanussi.
Among the Italian drivers are Antonio Perfetti and Augusto Costantini on their 1956 Ockelbo Simca & Sport Barchetta and Sandro and Filiberto Brozzetti with a 1930 OM-665 SSMM Zagato built in 1930.