Targa Newfoundland to Celebrate MINI in ’09

The Targa Newfoundland is a relatively new entrant to motorsport. Founded in 2002 it is one of only three such Targa’s currently held; the others being Targa New Zealand and Targa Tasmania. Set against the backdrop of the beautiful and rugged island of Newfoundland, it’s a week long open-road test of man and machine. An event won twice in it’s seven years by MINI’s.

To honor MINI’s 50th the organizers have arranged something a little special.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the marque and Targa MiniFEST will be a week-long celebration for Mini (and MINI) owners and enthusiasts that will include displays, special events and discounted entry to the annual tarmac rally challenge, Targa organizers say. A special MiniTOUR event will coincide with the regular competition and allow owners to tour the rally route without the usual timing and competition.

Full release after the jump.

Eighth annual Targa Newfoundland will be a MiniFEST

ST. JOHN’S (January 19, 2009) – Minis, the iconic little cars that started an automotive design revolution, gave mobility to millions around the world and became the David to a thousand Goliaths in racing, will be the centre of attention at the 8th Annual Targa Newfoundland international rally this September.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the marque and Targa MiniFEST will be a week-long celebration for Mini (and MINI) owners and enthusiasts that will include displays, special events and discounted entry to the annual tarmac rally challenge, Targa organizers say. A special MiniTOUR event will coincide with the regular competition and allow owners to tour the rally route without the usual timing and competition.

Whether it’s spelled ‘Mini’ (as in the British Motor Corporation-built Morris and Austin Mini that first appeared in 1959) or ‘MINI’ (built in the UK since 2002 by BMW), the diminutive cars have captured the imagination of generations of enthusiasts who have put them to every imaginable test in competition. Both iterations of the car have been staples of Targa Newfoundland since its inception in 2002, and a modern MINI has twice won the tough Open Division competition – the first international victory for the newly-revived nameplate.

“No other car has so excited and entertained motorsport fans of all ages, created so much fun, for such a long periods, and so caught and charged the imagination of so many people with so much delight,” said Targa organizer Robert Giannou. “There have been faster cars at Targa, and more dramatic cars, but none have been as popular with the fans as the Mini.”

MiniFEST is the brainchild of Richard Paterson of Toronto, himself a Mini driver in Targa since the event’s inception. His bright red first-generation Mini is a perpetual crowd favourite in the rally’s Classic Division. At one point, he had every child he encountered along the route sign the roof of the little car he calls Betty.

Giannou hopes to gather Mini (and MINI) owners and enthusiasts from all over the globe for a celebration of the marque’s history and popularity. “There’s so much history, so much lore, so much love for these little cars,” says Giannou. “Everyone who’s ever owned one has a Mini story, and we’re going to provide the best place in North America to share them.”

Owned and operated by Newfoundland International Motorsports Limited, Targa Newfoundland is one of three internationally recognized Targa motorsports events in the world. The 8th annual Targa Newfoundland will start in St. John’s on Saturday, September 12, 2009, and end back in the capital Saturday, September 19, and will cover more than 2,000 kilometres of the challenging, twisty roads of the central and eastern portion of the island of Newfoundland, including up to 400 kilometres of closed-road, flat-out Targa stages. Competitors have come from the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Holland, the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos and the U.K. for the first seven editions of Targa Newfoundland and international interest continues to build with competitors registering daily.