Anear hints at more pace from Mercedes GT R

Luke Anear at TARGA High Country (Photo Credit: Otherside Productions/Wishart Media)

Sunday April 11, 2021

Experienced competitor Luke Anear labels TARGA Tasmania as the best event he has ever done in a car.

Heading into the showpiece event from April 19 to 24 on the island state, Anear admits he has not scratched the surface in terms of understanding the electronic intricacies of the Mercedes GT R turbo-charged V8.

After debuting the super coupe at TARGA’s only event in 2020 (the Cairns-based Great Barrier Reef) and showing improvement at the February running of TARGA High Country, Anear says there is a lot more performance left in the GT R.

“We are still learning about the car but we are heading in the right direction,” Anear explained.

“There is a lot more left in the car so I just need to convince myself to brake a lot later.

“We cut a tyre going down Buller in February which wasn’t great but all-in-all we were happy with the result.”

Anear and co-driver Andy Sarandis guided the Mercedes GT R to third in the GT Outright class at Mt Buller behind the Nissan GT-R of Tony Quinn and Kate Catford.

Placing sixth in overall standings at the alpine event, Anear says he is excited about the GT R tackling its maiden TARGA Tasmania.

“We are getting better and better each time we go out in the car,” Anear said.

“But there is so much to learn in terms of all the electronic systems in the car.

“I’m really excited about getting to TARGA. It’s the longest one there has been and it’s going to be a real test as ever.

“Apart from the competition side of things, TARGA is a real mental test of endurance as well as the physical side of things.”

Along with the Quinn/Catford Nissan, the GTO field of 19 entries is headed by seven-time champion Jason White and John White in their Dodge Viper.

The strong field is spiced with a mix of talent including Jeff Morton/Daymon Nicoli (2019 Porsche GT2 RS), Eddie Maguire/Zak Brakey (2016 Dodge Viper ACR), John Ireland/Janet Binns (2017 Dodge Viper ACR) and Angus Kennard/Ian Wheeler (2015 Nissan GT-R).

Making the transition to GTO from their highly successful years in Classic GT, is Michael and Daniel Bray who will campaign a 2014 Nissan GT-R.

Anear is relishing the chance to mix it with the hot competition as much as he is looking forward to the camaraderie away from the stages.

“There are a lot of challenges about the event and we have picked up a few things over the years. 

“The roads are truly amazing and I can’t think of any tarmac event in the world that tops it really.

“Tommy Monaghan (runs in GTP with co-driver Alan Stephenson) is a good mate of mine and we both mix TARGA with our gravel rally program.

“The camaraderie is what makes TARGA so special as well as the actual quality of the competition on roads that are breath-taking.

“TARGA Tas is the best event I’ve done in a car by a mile. It is about finishing as much as it is about competing.”

The 29th edition of TARGA Tasmania will kick off from the Launceston Silverdome to the first stage, High Plains, on April 19 with the event finishing after 37 stages and 618km of competitive distance at PW1 in Hobart on April 24.

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