The early 20th century saw the birth of the motor car and the emergence of car clubs through Italy and Europe, all keen to demonstrate their cars ability to cover distance and do it quickly. At opposite ends of Italy the Palermo and Brescia Car Clubs established events that would become legendary in motor racing. Competitors from around the world would come to test their cars and skills racing at ever increasing speed through the amazing network of roads and towns through Italy.
It was an exciting time with rapid development and competition amongst car manufacturers who saw the Targa Florio and the Mille Miglia event as the perfect demonstration of their cars. They were established as speed events and manufacturers set aside large budgets and developed cars to win. The world’s best drivers pushed the cars faster and faster.
Winding its way through narrow Sicilian mountains roads the Targa Florio quickly established itself as one of the most difficult and challenging races for cars, attracting the great racing car drivers and important international car makers, such as Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Lancia, Maserati, BMW, and in later years Mercedes Ferrari and Porsche. For over 100 years it has stood as a symbol of passion for cars enthusiasts.
Following several serious crashes at speed, the race needed a new challenge. The Targa Florio remains a test for highly skilled drivers and navigators but rather than be a speed car event timed tests were introduced which required the drivers to average speed and meet exact times over set stages. The single day race became a 3 – 4 day event and developed into the form it is today. The Targa Florio remains loved and cherished by millions of adoring fans who line the roads and cheer and competitors who come back year after year to compete. The Targa Florio provides the opportunity for drivers and navigators to test their skills against the best in the world.
Today, the Targa Florio is not just the world’s oldest road race, but a tribute to classic cars and beautiful scenery. It is both a race and historical tribute for the legendary cars that participated in the original race and now also includes, the ever popular Ferrari Tribute.
The Targa Florio is an event that brings together the beauty of classic cars and the fascination of the great races to a passionate audience from across the globe.
After 100 years of events in Sicily, the Palermo Car Club agreed to add a sister event in Australia and the Targa Florio Australian Tribute was born. Victoria with its large Italian community and its strong history of racing and roads that provide the perfect backdrop for the regularity motorsport event, convinced the club that it was time to let their historic event be experienced elsewhere in the world too.