Reigning Australian GT-Production Champion, Peter Fitzgerald, will turn the clock back in this year's Targa Tasmania from April 28 - May 3 in honour of Porsche's 50th anniversary which is being celebrated world-wide this year.
Melbourne based Fitzgerald. who now has three Australian production titles to his credit and is the country's most successf.A production car racer, has been invited to take the wood-rimmed wheel of a potent, lightweight 1960 356B GT/GS entered by the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart. The car was driven by multiple Le Mans winner Jacky lckx in last year's Mil Milas Argentina..
Peter Fitzgerald has competed in the past two Targa Tasmania events, finishing fifth outright in 1996 driving his Porsche 968 Turbo RS. His co-driver this year will be European photographer/journalist, Michael Petersen.
Peter will fly to Launceston on Monday from Sydney's Oran Park, where he will be defending his 1997 title driving his Failcen Tyres Porsche 911 RS CS in Round 2 of the Australian GT-Productiun Championship ai. the wtekend.
"It's a real honour to be asked to drive such a rare and important car," said Fit~, who had only a brief diive of the Porsche around Melbourne before heading to Gran Park. "This is the 911 RS CS of its era and it very clearly shows how Porsche developed its reputation as the world's greatest sports car maker."
"I don't think we'll pose any threat to Jimmy Richards taking out his Targa hat-trick in his 911 Turbo, but we'll certainly delight a lot of people on the way."
Featuring aluminium panels, Plexiglass door windows and a potent 142HP (106kW) quad cam 1961cc four cylinder engine, the limited production coupe, like the latter-day 911 RS CS, was the Porsche with which both the factory and customers enjoyed considerable success in GT racing and rallies in the early 1960's.
The potent silver coupe is one of two very special Porsches entered for this year's Targa Tasmania by the Porsche Museum.
The other is an equally rare and valuable aluminium-bodied 1953 Porsche America- Roadster - the forerunner of the classic 356 Speedster model - built specifically by Porsche for the American market.
The Roadster was 60kg lighter than the 356 Coupe at just 605kg, thanks to lightweight bucket seats, the lack of wind-up windows, a more spartan instrument panel, a lighter and lower windscreen and a folding top designed only for emergencies.
Its uprated four cylinder 1488cc 'Boxer' engine from the 356 iSOOS Cabriolet, produced
a lusty 7OHP (53kW) at 5000rpm, giving the America-Roadster startling acceleration and
a very respectable (for 1953) a top speed of 180km/h.
Only a handfbl of these rare Porsches were built, but they played a prominent role not only in laying the foundations for Porsche success in North America, but also launching the racing careers of drivers such as Briggs Cunningham.
The Porsche America-Roadster will be driven by Klaus Bischof, the Director of the Porsche Museum, together with Porsche mechanic Hermann Ruttger and will act as a potent support vehicle for the Fitzgerald/Petersen 356B GT/GS.
Tailpipes: This is the third successive year that the Porsche has supported Targa with special vehicles from their Stuttgart Museum.
In 1996, Jochen Mass drove a 1960 Porsche R560 Spyder, winning his class and the handicap award, while Jim Richards won outright in his 911 RS CS.
Last year, dual World Rally Champion Walter Roehrl drove a 1984 911 SC RS to fifth outright and first in class, while Jim Richards again won, this time driving his personal 911 Turbo.
Porsche No.1, plus a selection of other significant models from the Porsche Museum, will also be coming to Australia later this year for the Australian '50 Years Porsche' Festival in Victoria from November 11-15.