The occasion marks the global rally debut of Mazda's new generation performance model and will be piloted by one of Australia's most promising rally drivers, Brendan Reeves.
The new showroom-spec rally car was built by Mazda Motorsport Australia under the watchful eye of Allan Horsley. The Mazda3 MPS is part of Mazda's to-car attack on the Targa Tasmanian rally which will also feature Mazda's turbo rotary coupe, the RX-8 SP, piloted by former Targa champ Steve Glenney.
In standard trim, Mazda's MPS3 delivers 190kW of power and 380Nm of torque, but with Targa Showroom production regulations allowing minor modifications to the car's engine management system, the team at Mazda Motorsport has been able to get even more from the 2.3-litre direct injection turbocharged engine.
"The Mazda3 MPS is an incredible out-of-the-box rally car, we’ve already proven that with three consecutive class wins and a tenth outright at Targa," said Mr Horsley."This year we have a more refined and evolved piece of machinery that has been improved in just the right areas for rallying; suspension, transmission and torque management."
Calling the corners for driver Brendan Reeves is his older sister Rhianon Smyth, the pair having campaigned over 30 rallies together. Targa Tasmania will be Ms Smyth's first event since a major accident in Rally SA last year left her with serious injuries.
"Rhianon and I are really excited about this year’s Targa," said Mr Reeves."Despite last year’s setbacks we’re both stoked to be back in the racing seat. Rhianon, due to her incredible fitness and determination, has made a full and remarkable recovery and we both can’t wait to get back to what we love doing the most – rallying."And racing at an event like Targa Tasmania for a professional racing outfit really is the pinnacle."Allan and the team at Mazda have spent a lot of time on developing the new car, so all of that, along with the improvements made at the factory level are going to make for a really competitive car."
The 2010 Targa Tasmania rally will be held from April 27th to May 2nd. The five-day course will cover over 2,000km and includes 500 competitive kilometres broken up over 40 closed-road stages.
To follow the event, and for a chance to win a drive in Targa Tasmania in an MPS3, visit www.mazdamotorsport.com.au