In an economic windfall for Tropical North Queensland, entries for the 2019 Targa Great Barrier Reef rally have surged to cement its place as the second largest tarmac rally in the world.
The number of competing cars has climbed to 270, well above last year’s debut event.
It’s estimated drivers and support crews will directly pump more than $3-million into the Tropical North Queensland economy.
Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones said drivers have rated the scenic tropical roadways as among the globe’s best.
“The popularity of the inaugural 2018 Targa Great Barrier Reef has solidified the event as a highlight on Tropical North Queensland’s event calendar with a record number of entries set to boost the local economy,” she said.
“From the Cairns Esplanade to the lush Atherton Tablelands, the economic benefits of the event will once again be shared across the region.
“Events like Targa GBR are important in promoting the diverse tourism experiences on offer in the region and I encourage visitors to extend their stay and explore the beauty of Tropical North Queensland.”
Once again, motorsport fans will have a number of chances to get up close to the magnificent machines before the races begin,with the Ceremonial Start at the entrance of The Reef Hotel Casino and the Targa Expo at the Cairns Convention Centre on Friday August 30.
Last year more than 25,000 fans flocked to the Esplanade for the TargaFest on the Saturday night.
Event Director Mark Perry said the tropical vibe and local support has ensured the event’s success.
“The atmosphere last year was just fantastic,” he said.
“All of the competitors commented on how enthusiastic the locals were, which gave the whole event such a buzz and has definitely contributed to the increase in competitor entries this year.
“It’s the third round of the CAMS Australian Targa Championship, so all the serious contenders know they have to do well here but it’s tough.
“The roads are tricky - they are a great test of driver and car.”
The Mayor of Cairns, Bob Manning, said not only is Targa GBR a great community event but it also promotes the region far and wide through a televised production.
“Images of the Tropical Far North were beamed to a worldwide audience," he said.
“Cairns offers an amazing natural backdrop for major events and there is no better fit than Targa for our region – it’s an iconic car race set against an iconic backdrop and we look forward to its return.”
An addition this year will see many Targa visitors head out to Moore Reef with Sunlover Cruises the day after the event.