Murray Walker to race for Toyota in Targa Tasmania

MONDAY, MARCH 10: Murray Walker, 'the voice' of Formula One for decades, will team up with Australian motorsport legend Colin Bond in a Toyota in this year's Targa Tasmania tarmac rally. Walker will be navigator and co-driver for Bond in a ...

Murray Walker to race for Toyota in Targa Tasmania

MONDAY, MARCH 10: Murray Walker, 'the voice' of Formula One for decades, will team up with Australian motorsport legend Colin Bond in a Toyota in this year's Targa Tasmania tarmac rally.

Walker will be navigator and co-driver for Bond in a production-trim Toyota Team Racing Camry Sportivo in the rally, which will be held from May 13-18 and is promoted by global sports and events marketing company Octagon.

The Camry, powered by a 3-litre V6 quad cam engine developing 145kW, is being entered under the newly-formed works TTR banner and will be prepared and crewed during the event by its Canberra-based team fronted by triple Australian rally champion and 1995 Targa winner Neal Bates.

British-based Walker retired from Formula One television commentating at the end of the 2001 season and indicated in his best-selling autobiography 'Unless I'm Very Much Mistaken' that competing in Targa Tasmania had been a long held ambition.

"I am most grateful to Toyota for this opportunity and I am looking forward with great anticipation to the event," said Walker.

"I'm not absolutely certain I'm up to reading pace notes to Colin during Targa, but I am relishing the prospect of sitting beside him."

Bond, 61, is the only driver to have won the coveted motorsport hat-trick comprising the Bathurst 1000 (1969), the Australian Touring Car Championship (1975), and the Australian Rally Championship (1972-73-75).

"Murray is very enthusiastic and I still enjoy driving so it should be a lot of fun," said Bond. "I'm very much aware of the status of my co-driver and my priority will be to bring him back not only intact, but with a huge smile on his face."

"The Toyota Camry we are running will be close to production trim so we won't be going for the outright win. Having said that, performance-wise it's a good allround car and we hope to be competitive in our class."

Octagon's Tasmania General Manager Rob McGuire said that Walker's presence was a coup for the event and would generate huge interest.

"Murray Walker is one of the most popular figures in world motorsport and I'm sure he will enjoy the special camaraderie that exists between all the Targa competitors, and the chance to take in some of the most breathtaking scenery you will see anywhere," he said.

Bond said he had first raised the possibility of Walker competing with him in Targa during a conversation at the Sydney Motor Show.

"I had read that Murray wanted to do Targa and when we spoke at the (Sydney) Motor Show he said he was keen," he said. "After that I contacted Toyota and things came together pretty quickly."

Bond has competed in Targa once before, finishing 10th outright in 1993 in a Toyota MR2.

"Being on bitumen the speeds are higher and there is more grip compared to rallying off-road," he said. "My plan is to do some laps in a Camry around Eastern Creek before Targa to get more familiar with the car. I'm also thinking of going down to Tasmania beforehand and have a drive over some of the roads because it's been a long time since I last competed in Targa."

Network Ten executives David White and Scott Young will also enter a Lexus IS200 in targa. Bates and regular navigator Coral Taylor will be team managers for the Lexus entry.

This year's rally will be the 12th annual Targa event in Tasmania since 1992, and will be contested over a total distance of 2,299km, with 464km in 44 competitive stages, plus the Temco Prologue.

Entries have increased to 267, headed by six-times champion Jim Richards and Tasmanian navigator Barry Oliver in a Porsche 911.

The four competitions in Targa are Historic (for cars from 1900-46), Touring Classic (1947-65), Classic (1900-81), and Modern (1982-2003). There is also a new non-competition touring class for rare and exotic historic and classic cars.

Octagon is the global marketing-led sports and event marketing company. It offers worldwide expertise across all eight major sports and event marketing disciplines: athlete representation, consultancy, event management, property representation and sales, TV rights sales and distribution, TV production and archive, new media and licensing and merchandising.

Octagon is part of The Interpublic Group (NYSE:IPG), the world's largest advertising and marketing communications group. The Interpublic Group is the only marketing communications and services group with a global sports marketing capability. Octagon employs over 1,500 people in 24 countries on all major continents. For further information please visit: www.octagon.com

-www.targa.org.au

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