No matter what part of the world you hail from, there's really nothing quite like the Targa Newfoundland. Held on a beautiful island off the Eastern coast of Canada, the course is over 1,350 miles long and winds through small towns, open spaces and deep forests for some of the most challenging and varied stages of any competition on the continent. As a result, competitors come wielding sheetmetal from every conceivable corner of the globe and era of automotive history. It's a buffet of horsepower at wide-open throttle, and this year, we'll be in the hunt ourselves.

The good people at Flyin' Miata have been so kind as to offer us a much-coveted co-driver seat in their supercharged 2006 MX-5. Nancy, as our valiant stallion is affectionately known due to her NC chassis, started life as an abused orphan of the Mazda press car fleet. After a little massaging by the Flyin' Miata crew, the car now rocks a 2009 front fascia, the company's proprietary supercharger kit, springs and sway bars as well as a set of Tokico Shocks. All told, the car produces somewhere around 240 horsepower, which should be enough to help us keep up with the rest of the Grand Touring Class.

Yours Truly will doing his level best to keep from confounding Bill Cardell as he whips Nancy across the Canadian landscape. Those familiar with the Miata scene know Cardell as the founder and owner of Flyin' Miata, so if anyone knows how to properly cane an MX-5, it's this guy. I'm honored to have the chance to share the cockpit with him.

This year, Flyin' Miata is actually campaigning two vehicles. While Cardell, myself and Nancy are set to go the distance in the Grand Touring category, Keith and Janel Tanner are also taking to the Targa. The husband-and-wife team will once again helm the same 1994 MX-5 Miata that they drove in the 2008 Targa Newfoundland, with one big change. This year, the car rocks a General Motors L33 V8 conversion that cranks out 400 horsepower to the rear wheels thanks to a set of LS6 heads and a trick cam. All of that power is funneled through a T56 six-speed transmission and a Getrag differential with a clutch-pack limited slip. Needless to say, the Tanners will be taking on the Open Class to do battle with the quickest metal of the event.

Interestingly enough, Flyin' Miata wouldn't have been able to head to the 2011 Targa Newfoundland at all without the help of the company's fans and supporters. The team tried to seduce large sponsors to help fund the trip to Canada before turning to the Miata nation for help. To date, they've raised over $14,500 to help put the cars on the first stage. It's a testament to just how faithful Miata owners can be.

Given that my navigation experience is limited plotting the quickest path to the Dippin Dots stand at the local amusement park, I've got some serious work to do before the race gets started on September 10. Stay tuned for updates on my Targa education.


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  • 17 Comments
      Max
      • 3 Years Ago
      Autoblog and Flyin' Miata! That's 2 of my favorite things in one!
      Richard Atkinson
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'll be participating this year as well as a navigator. Our local autocross club (Vinland Motorsport) is sponsored by Targa Newfoundland and the top driver gets a free entry into Targa the following year. I'll see you there!
      Chris Woolman
      • 3 Years Ago
      Zach, I'm extremely jealous. I hope your able to capture some good images and videos of the experience. Can't wait to see them!
      Dusty Michael
      • 3 Years Ago
      GREAT! Hope to see many updates through the event. I love watching that event and wish that it was covered by the media better.
      throwback
      • 3 Years Ago
      Zach you lucky SOB! This race is on my list of must see automotive events. I wont make this year's race but I am planning to be there in 2 years. The Isle of Man TT is up first.
      Matt Clare
      • 3 Years Ago
      Great that your going to do the Targa Newfoundland! I look forward to seing you on the week later coverage on TSN and Speed..... and then once or twice every week all sumer long until regular programming resumes.
      ottoingineer
      • 3 Years Ago
      Zach, I am a little jealous! (actually more than a "little"!). Bill C. is a gentleman and used to flog Porsches before getting bitten by the Miata-bug in the early 90s...So you will have an epic time indeed. Amazing roads, machinery and people. Enjoy and tell the rest of us (via AB) how wonderful it was!
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Jason
        • 3 Years Ago
        http://www.targamiata.com/ http://www.flyinmiata.com/projects/targa/TargaBuild.php?UID=
      Mdriftda
      • 3 Years Ago
      catch me flyin' in the M3, right passed the gt500 powered miata
      Copyright Attorney
      • 3 Years Ago
      Keep in mind this series started as a Spec Miata replica racing series, and has steadily grown into something else. We no longer spec the cars according to SCCA rules, but have decided to branch out and do our own thing. Make no mistake, the cars only have 145hp but they're pretty quick and the racing can get quite intense.
        Jason
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Copyright Attorney
        I'd like this taken down as it was taken from a post from mine on a Miata forum and copied over here word for word.
        Jason
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Copyright Attorney
        Who posted this? And where did you get it?
      Rilam36
      • 3 Years Ago
      "The team tried to seduce large sponsors to help fund the trip to Canada before turning to the Miata nation for help." I'm so confused why Cardell couldn't get sponsorship from Flyin' Miata and had to resort to "donations". As long as he's been in business and with the prices he charges, $14.5k is a drop in the bucket. I'm glad I'm not a shareholder in that company.
      Tyler56
      • 3 Years Ago
      Glad to hear it!! See you in September here on the Rock! Hopefully I can get out to marshal a couple stages this year.
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