Targa Miata
August 30, 2011 - The Targa Miata, ready for the Targa.
Now, how about the strategy for the race? One thing to remember is that the Targa is an endurance event. As another competitor has pointed out, you can't win the race on a single corner but you can lose it. You have to get to the end. Also, the winner isn't the fastest car, it's the one with the least number of penalties. That's important to remember. You have to go fast enough to minimize your penalties, but slow enough to survive. Walking that fine line is a real challenge.
A refresher in how the race works. Each stage is given a minimum base time or an average speed, if you like to look at it that way. If you complete the stage over this time or at a lower average speed, then you are penalized. If you finish faster than the minimum, then you don't get any penalties. It doesn't make any difference if you crossed the line right on time or if you came in two minutes early, all that matters is the 0 penalty points. The times get more aggressive and difficult to beat as the week goes on. Nobody will finish the race without penalties, the organizers make sure of that.
There's also the Trophy time, which is the base time plus 40%. If you finish every stage under this time, then you get a Targa plate. It's a reward for consistent speed, and I'm happy to say there's one hanging on my wall from 2008.

We've made some bold statements about winning the whole thing, but really the goal is to run a clean race. Last year, every single Open division car had problems of one sort or another that kept them from finishing a stage. This means big penalties. If someone in that class had kept it together enough to get a Targa plate, they also would have won the division. Heck, the Open division winner only managed to get the steering wheel of his car to the finish line!
So our goal for this race is to finish, get a Targa plate and pick up fewer penalties than our competition. The last is partly up to them, of course, and we're definitely going to have to push as hard as we can and still finish. We'll have a better idea of how hard that will be after the first couple of days.
entry 933 - tags: strategy