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The Passionista

Time to ‘Zero In’ on the Targa Florio Australian Tribute

By | merchandise, Training

When it comes to Classic Car Rallies just the appreciation of great cars, local food and wine and camraderie of others is enough. However, the competition element of Regularity Motorsport can further deepen your enjoyment of this enjoyable past time.


Veteran of overseas European Classic Car Rallies and Director of the Targa Florio Australian Tribute, Andrew Lawson explains a little more about the timing equipment required for these great events.


Timing Equipment, Practice

Its up to each team to work out how hard you want to compete in the Targa Florio Australian Tribute. This article has been written to explain some of the choices and to highlight the Zero device as a unit that in our experience provides a tool which we hope will improve teams ability and enjoyment as they get closer and closer to the nominated PC times.

As ever practice makes a big difference – there is no substitute from having experienced driving and practicing the same routine as you drive through the PC trials.

Below is a summary of the timing equipment that can help you become more skilled and accurate:

Getting Started:

If you want to get more accurate there are a wide range of equipment that have been created to help you.

These include ‘rally’ style odometer (Zero, Terratrip, Monit etc.) which are mounted in the car. This can also be achieved with an App such as ‘Rallytripmeter’. There are a number available.

Time Controls are simple. Check your clock, be on time, and add the time allowed to your time out and make sure you arrive at the destination on time! As long as there are no issues with the car and you follow the route you should not loose time making these within the allotted minute.

Regularity Stages and Average Speed tests are a little more involved. It’s a team effort and you need to work together. For our first go at the Mille Miglia and the Targa Florio events we used an Ipad’ Regularity Test App. called Chronomaster.eu (Lite is free, Klassik costs $99 but will allow you to enter the entire rally before you start the event where as the lite version requires you to enter the tests in groups).

The following are some of the equipment available.

On the navigation side we have used terratrip that accurately provides distance and time information.  These combine well with the roadbook as they allow you to have accurate distance calculation between each direction or feature highlighted in the roadbook.  They also provide accurate average speed feedback for the PM trials where you are set an average speed to maintain typically run over 5 – 10 km’s.

Competition – tools that help :

Generally, after you have completed a number of these rally’s and your competitive nature takes over there is no end of preparations you can take and equipment you can add to the car to give you the best chance.

To make the timing even more accurate hand-held triggers, countdown audio and very accurate equipment all enable the competitors to be very accurate.

Examples of the top end equipment include the Zero, Digitec Ecco, Bora and Bora S systems that have been developed in Italy for these races.

ZERO – V5.2

Having watched and spoken to a wide range of teams that compete in the European events there is wide range of equipment and techniques used to be as accurate as possible.  In deciding on a system our main criteria were:

  • East of use
  • They include a handheld trigger
  • They have a simple menu system
  • They are easy to set up and use in the event.
  • Cost, systems can cost from $750 – $2,500

The Zero units ticked all the boxes, they come programmed in Italian or English, have a simple menu system and have been developed for the European regularity events.

The units are provided with the following:

  • Zero Unit
  • Robust case
  • Dash mount, including a trigger mount
  • Trigger
  • Charge cable

The only thing we needed to add was a set of headphones.

The unit has a training and event modes.

Race Mode

For the event the rally time is accurately recorded and the PC’s. PM are added together with transit stages.

Typically there are between 3 and 6 PC’s run concurrently (you are asked in the setup whether they are concurrent (linked)or not).

There are 4 different events

CO:        time control (the time allocated for the car to start the race),

PC          Precision trial, measured between 2 tubes on the road, cars are given an exact time to complete each PC.

The key to success in PC trials is hitting the exact time over each line.

A big help is establishing a consistent time and technique for the last 10 metre zone.

These stages are all about hitting the exact time for each trial.

  • There are more than 70 of these on the rally and they are timed within 1/100 of a second.
  • This is where the regularity rally is won and lost.
  • The key is to accurately drive these short sections, between 40 and 400 meters long in exactly the correct time.
  • Typically you are required to travel approx. 10-30km/h.
  • There are typically 2 – 4 of these in a row and they are positioned in car parks, ovals and where roads can be closed to ensure public traffic do not drive through them and affect the timing.

Generally, there will be marshals to direct you into the time trials.

The penalty for not being exactly on time is 1 point per 1/100th of a second

PF           Phantom Trial (a time set for travelling between sets of PC’s

CC          Time control – accurate to the 1/100 of a second.

You can then add the entire event into the ZERO and you are ready to go.  An added feature to the Zero’s is that if one of the other competitors has loaded to event in a ZERO the units can be connected by a cable and share the event data.

We have purchased a ZERO and will make sure we have them at training.

A training guide was prepared for the first training – if you would like a copy of it or any further information on the ZERO devices or training please contact Linda on linda.lawson@targaflorioaus.com


Teams spend weekends and spare time training to time the last 10 meters into controls to get as close to exact as possible.  To win one of these events competitors must accurately complete 70 – 120 PC’s with the minimum time losses.  The winners typically do this with only a few seconds lost over the entire event.

Feedback from experts is that they use a foot on the brake and a foot on the accelerator to get the time as close as possible.  Winning these events takes practice to be as consistent as you can be over the line.  A lot of practice and repetitively mastering the PC stages is key to winning the event.


Alfa Romeo in Yarra Valley Italian Festival

Yarra Valley Italian Festival includes Targa Florio Australian Tribute in 2019

By | Victoria

The Targa Florio Australian Tribute is once again proud to be one of the main attractions at the “Ciao Yarra Valley Ciao” Italian Festival in Healesville.


The Ciao Yarra Valley Ciao festival is returning to the Yarra Valley to celebrate the region’s rich Italian heritage. The festival will showcase the best Italian food, wine, entertainment and cars in themed events across the Yarra Valley region over two weeks in November.

Incorporating this year’s theme of Eat, Drink, Move, the festival will kick off in Healesville. The Festa di via Verde (Green Street Festival), will also coincide with the iconic Targa Florio Australian Tribute motor car race.

Competitors in the Targa Florio Australian Tribute got an up close and personal taste of the festival in 2018. Drivers were completing one of their many time trials as part of the festival activities. Likewise, locals in the festival watched on as a wonderful array of motor cars drove by.

Festival goers got to witness some rare cars in action. Including the gorgeous 1951 Lancia Aurelia. The elegant 1936 Delage Le Mans and the rare 1948 Tucker Torpedo, the only one of its kind in Australia.

In 2019 the Targa Florio Australian Tribute will continue to play a role in the festival by showcasing some of Italy’s finest motor cars of today and from the last century.

Stay tuned for more information about the Targa Florio Australian Tribute at targaflorioaus.com as the event continues to build, starting from November 14-17, 2019.

For more information and booking details visit visityarravalley.com.au/ciao-yarra-valley-ciao.

Alfa Romeo 1927 competing in the Mille Miglia

Mille Miglia invites Targa Florio Australian Tribute to 2019 event

By | Italy

This year in May, the Targa Florio Australian Tribute team went to Italy on a fact finding mission. They got a rare behind scenes look at ‘One of the most beautiful Races in the World’, the Mille Miglia. Andrew Lawson, Director of the Targa Florio Australian Tribute provides his insights into their recent trip abroad.

This year Linda (my wife), Paul (my brother) and I returned to enjoy the Mille Miglia as guests after competing in the event in 2016. On this occasion we had the opportunity as the Targa Florio Australian Tribute team. We sought to understand the race from a behind the scenes perpective. We cannot thank Francesca and Alberto enough for their kindness and generosity whist  running the 2019 event.

Linda joined Paul and I with the same smile that we have had since competing in the event.  Ears pinned back she reveled in driving the event. Manically latching onto the back of the escort police. They created additional lanes for us to fly from town to town.  I just needed to work out how I get back to the driving seat.

Local Italian Culture

Having an Italian in the car we enjoyed speaking to the gorgeous locals as we drove slowly in que through the historic towns past adoring crowds, Linda thanked them in Italian for coming out in the rain to see us…. ‘merita’ said the older lady “its worth it”. Thousands of volunteers help with the flow of cars seamlessly through and around their historic towns and hand out local food specialities including gelato, espresso and wine to the drivers and codrivers. The love for the event is very infectious.

Alfa Romeo 1927 competing in the Mille Miglia
Lawsons meet Mark Weber at Mille Miglia

A competitors point of view

Rather than just hearing from me, David Bredan, Editor of  ablogtowatch.com sums up his experience in his first Mille Miglia event perfectly. David competed this year in his first Mille Miglia in 2019 and no doubt has well and truly become addicted to the event as we have.

The atmosphere of the event

Meanwhile, everywhere we went, the energy was such that it put F1 races to shame. From the most remote homestead to the busiest city center, people from age five to 105 were standing and sitting and running, waving, cheering, and photographing along the road. Not one single disapproving look or any such encounter — and I must say, the race does turn the lives of these tranquil little Italian cities upside down. Working days or school time, rain or shine: nothing was an issue. Well, maybe apart from that nice old lady who quite literally leapt through my lowered driver-side window to shake our hand, while shouting “Abarth!” and some unintelligible, but highly enthused Italian phrases at us. The love of cars and driving has, indeed, united people.

The experience

The whole point I am trying to make is that driving these cars is unusually hard, immensely thrilling and, as a result, highly rewarding. It’s not just driving around, though: The same adjectives could be used about navigating a thousand miles on the infamously hectic Italian road network. The route contains closed sections, including roads that lead through an ancient villa’s garden or across some breathtakingly beautiful valleys of Emilia-Romagna, as well as down the public road. Now, in my understanding, because some stages need to be performed as close to a pre-defined time as possible, things can get a bit out of hand if any one of the hundreds of serious participants fighting for the win gets held up.

The local customs

Desperate times call for desperate measures — or so they would in every other country. In Italy, the police rush to their assistance. We were part of such a delayed convoy of cars and witnessed three police bikes quite literally riding into oncoming traffic, with each rider pumping with their arms in the direction of either one of the two sides of the road, hence “asking” the traffic to make a path in the center of the two-lane single carriageway.

Making way for the competitors

As the road opened, and we were doing about 110kph (65mph) in a zone of 60kph (35mph), the police officers started urging us to drive faster and faster, waving their arms in a rather bossy fashion — and we were only happy to comply. This happened in a train composed of two Gullwings, a Porsche 550 Spider, a 356 Speedster and three other cars I couldn’t easily identify, nor do I remember anything about, I was so busy concentrating on keeping this 44.6HP Double-Bubble part of the train. Needless to say, this was as much of a hair-brained idea as it was an absolute thrill — and the way the traffic assisted us and cheered us along showed just how deeply integrated the love of cars is in Italy.

The fact that we overtook an ambulance that had its sirens on because its driver reached out the window and urged us to pass him (and gave us a thumbs-up as we blasted by with our roaring half-a-century-old cars) was well and truly over what I had ever dared to imagine. And when the night finally falls after a full day of driving full of such encounters, one turns onto some abandoned country roads chasing a 356 Speedster in an Abarth 750 — and that’s when, for a brief, passing moment, all is well in the world.

What an experience

Although Mille Miglia and all its crazy moments are a thing of the past, I can still play back just about every scenery and every overtake and situation in my mind like a movie – that’s how genuine this experience has been.

Replicating this experience in Australia

Enjoying the chance to experience both of the great Italian Rallies in 2018 and return to Australia, our family had the opportunity to get involved and build the Australian version of the Targa Florio.  You have to be careful what you wish for.  In February having agreed to take on the Targa Florio Australian Tribute event we set up Australian Classic Events.  Whilst there is a lot to do it has been great to sit down and work to build the event for this year.  We have started with great roads and an extended route which now totals 1200 kilometres over the 4 days.

We are working closely with the communities along the route to try and create as close an atmosphere in the towns as we enjoyed in Italy.  This approach will see the event finish at the Italian Festa in Lygon Street, drive into a bigger Ciao Yarra Valley Ciao Festa Verde in Healesville and more opportunities for community events under discussion in all the other regions..

We have created a new website: www.targaflorioaus.com to explain the event and provide as much information as we can.

Competition Training

By | Training | No Comments

Have you ever been curious about the ins and outs of the Competition Stages of the Targa Florio?

Take the opportunity to attend a monthly Targa Florio Australian Tribute training session. In a casual environment you will learn what it takes to compete in the Targa Florio Australian Tribute. Training is free and Drivers and Co-Drivers get hands on skills and training in the Competition Stages which follow a European format of driving with precision rather than speed. Bring an open mind, a great attitude, willingness to learn and your own vehicle. It is Challenging, addictive and fun!

The duo of David Reidy and former AFL Champion Leigh Colbert have plenty of experience when it comes to this form of Motorsport. After competing in numerous European Regularity Motorsport events they consider it important to attend these sessions in search of improvement behind the wheel and as a team.

Check out their insights in the video below filmed at one of our recent training sessions.

If you would like to attend a session call the Targa Florio Australian Tribute office on 0431 685 490 or email registrations@targaflorioaus.com.
Training takes place on the last Sunday of each month and full details are below.

  • DATE: Last Sunday of each month finishing in October.
  • TIME: 10.00 am.
  • VENUE: Lorbek Luxury Cars (car park), 30 Prohasky St, Port Melbourne VIC 3207
Listen to the insights of David Reidy and Leigh Colbert about their experience in Regularity Motorsport.
Entry pass to the premiere of RACER.

RACER – Alfie Costanzo

By | Drivers, Ferrari | No Comments

The story of the racing life of the Australian Driving Champion Alfredo Costanzo.

The movie RACER is a great tribute to the Australian Driving Champion Alfredo Costanzo. Produced by independent film production company Weightless. The project delivered under the watchful eye of film maker Will Gaffney. The inspiration for this project was none other than Alf’s Costanzo’s son Alf Jnr.

Will Gaffney was thrilled to be invited to bring this project to life;

“Production on the documentary “Racer” about the life and career of 4-time Australian Gold Star Drivers Champion Alfie Costanzo was great. This project has been an incredible experience to being invited into the Costanzo family and drawing out such an amazing story from so many wonderful people.”

Over 500 people gathered at the Westfield Village Cinemas in Doncaster for one of the centres biggest ever private screenings. Family, Friends and associates enjoyed this great documentary of the trials and tribulations of Alfredo Costanzo and his quest to be the best driver in Australia.

The Targa Florio Australian Tribute has been privileged to have Alf and Carlo Travaglini participate in the inaugural 2017 event. They won the Ferrari Tributo category driving a beautiful 2017 Ferrari California and have continued to be an integral part of the event in 2018.

Congratulations to the RACER, Alfie Costanzo.