Rewind the tape back to November ’12. We just debuted our Garage FR-S project car at SEMA—one of the first Rocket Bunny-kitted cars in North America. It was a true showstopper, but with all the time and money put into the car, we have to come clean… For ten months, it’s been nothing but a trailer queen! It’s only racked up 3,000 miles on the odometer and the car’s been kept in a dark corner of our storage facility only seeing the light of day for local shows. Sad, right? Realizing this, we didn’t want you to think we’re a bunch of wimps. So last September, Targa Trophy invited us to partake in its exclusive California 1000 event—a three-day road rally that would take us from Hollywood to Monterey to San Luis Obispo and back. We couldn’t say no!
What is Targa?
When people think of road rallies, spectacles like Gumball come to mind—$250,000 supercars weaving in and out of traffic going 150+mph. Events like that have given road rallies a bad name, but Targa Trophy is here to change that. Since ’07, organizer Jason Overell has been organizing a series of Targa events that focus on sports cars and the joy of driving them. Instead of racing from city to city and putting other cars on the road in danger, drivers follow a set of directions that lead you on some of the most incredible and undiscovered back roads in America. The roads include everything from tight slaloms to full-on hairpins and hill climbs. The California 1000 event is easily the most demanding driving event we’ve ever done. You have to have plenty of stamina to drive 300+ miles per day. It’s also the ultimate test for your car as it goes through more abuse than a day at the track.
While most Targa participants do it for the driving and the fun (like us!), there is a bit of competition involved and some big prizes at the end of the rally. The goal isn’t to get to the finish line first, but to reach an exact time and mileage that’s been set by the Targa Trophy staff beforehand. It doesn’t mean you have to drive the speed limit the whole time or rage at 120+mph. It’s done so that you can drive cautiously through cities and neighborhoods but let loose when the roads are clear. There are also checkpoints added to keep things fair and to make sure you stay on the route.
We often get asked how quick our Garage FR-S project car is. If you’ve driven one before, then you’ll know an FR-S is built for grip and handling. We’ve done every bit to improve on that while making it stand out as one of the nicest examples possible.
The car’s been dialed in with KW V3 coilovers and has massive stopping power via AP Racing big brakes. Our FR-S has an unmistakable look thanks to the Rocket Bunny Version 1 widebody kit, JDM lights, BBS E88 wheels and green hue, which is a slight spin-off from Aston Martin’s British Racing Green. Right before the Targa rally, we also fitted a set of Toyo Proxes T1 Sports—the perfect tires for the event that proved to have plenty of traction and were very quiet and comfortable. Under the hood, our 2.0-liter Boxer has been supercharged by HKS. It’s an early prototype kit and has been tuned to 201whp and 176 lb-ft on pump gas. With that said, it’s not a screamer from the stoplight. And when compared to a field of 30+ cars having power up to 700hp, you’re damn right we were the underdog. But it was a challenge we were ready for and we’re happy to say that we could hang! Cars like the GT-R and Lambo blew by us on the straights, but where we really picked up speed was in the tighter canyons. There were times where we were pushing a pack of cars that included a Gallardo, M3 and STI. On another day of the rally, we stayed on pace with a group of modified Audis that easily had double our horsepower. Not bad for our trailer queen, eh?
Overall, we encourage everyone to experience an event like Targa Trophy. While it looks intimidating on the outside, the organizers, participants and sponsors involved with Targa are enthusiasts like us. They’re not professional drivers or rich snobs, but everyone shares the same passion of driving their cars hard.
Burn Rubber Party
With the start and finish line at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, we figured it would be a good place to throw a Super Street party as well! On Saturday night, we packed the entire hotel and pool lounge with friends of Super Street, Targa Trophy and Toyo Tires. The entire VIP parking lot was filled up with past feature cars like Michael Mao’s NSX, Teddy Timoteo’s EK, Darren Yoo’s BMW M3 and many more. The party was poppin’ all night as we celebrated the success of a great Targa Trophy event!