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The Porsche Targa High Country Tour in a 718 Cayman GTS

Sports cars are designed to be driven hard. Foot to the floor, tyres gripping, the engine singing, and you don’t even glance at the speedometer. Try doing that on a public road, though, and say goodbye to your car and licence. But what if you could do all that legally? The Targa Australia rally series is just that.

CarAdvice was invited to the Porsche Targa High Country Tour this year to drive the 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS around Mount Buller, Mansfield, and Eildon over three days.

While the tour has posted speed limits, and the stages are not timed, you can still take racing lines through twisty roads at speed.

As a first for this year, Porsche ran a track day at Winton Motor Raceway on the first day to get drivers familiar with their cars. It was perhaps more catered to those who haven’t driven their car in anger before, and it was also handy for us, as the only time we spent in the Cayman was doing 110km/h on the freeway that morning.

The 30 or so cars were split into four groups based on their driving experience or the power of their cars. Then followed a Targa drivers’ briefing, where drivers received two 15-minute track sessions and one session for the navigator.

In our group, we had a mixture of Caymans, 911s, and a lone Cayenne, with some teams trying Targa out for the first time, including myself and our cameraman, Igor, who had the job of navigating.

Each day consisted of around eight stages at different lengths. The Porsche tour was privileged to lead each stage before the competition cars made their way through, keeping the roads clear of gravel and dirt. The shortest stage was around 7km and the longest 48km. We received some ‘breathers’ in between stages as we had to travel to the next stage on open public roads, which sometimes was a 60km trip. There weren’t many opportunities for toilet breaks, so while waiting for the start of each stage, most guys went to see a man about a dog.

Helmets were not needed for the tour, only long-sleeve shirt and enclosed shoes, so we were quite comfortable. Cars had to be scrutineered by CAMS, and both driver and navigator were breath-tested at the start of each day. If you blew over 0.00, no driving or navigating for you.

Read the full article here.

Targa North West 2019 Stage Maps & Road Closures

Detailed stage maps and summary of road closure times for Targa North West 2019 are now available to download here.

If you have any questions, please email enquiries@targa.com.au

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