Article and Photography by Corey Davis
Founded in 2007, Targa Trophy is no stranger to the automotive lifestyle and culture that we've grown so close to and love. When we first caught wind of this rally, we literally had no idea what it was all about. That changed this weekend when we attended our first TT Experience, Event #3, the Euro vs. JDM Festival and Rally from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
So, what is Targa Trophy? It's a single-day rally based on a predetermined "target time.” Teams are made up of a car, a driver, and a navigator. The rally begins with a stopwatch at the starting line, and competitors are required to navigate to various checkpoints along the way. Each checkpoint is documented by a photo that is uploaded to Facebook or Instagram. The goal is to complete each checkpoint and make it to the finish line as close to the target time as possible. The team that does this the best takes home the trophy. It's important to state that this event isn't at all like Bullrun or Gumball 3000, with cars flat out racing each other. Reckless driving is frowned upon. However, this didn't stop teams from a little "spirited” driving—if you know what I mean.
Bishimoto's Porsche 911 twin turbo is certainly a vehicle of historical significance in more ways than one—such an awesome build and one of our favorites.
All cars were required to be spotless before starting out. If you were in a pinch, Eco Luxury Detail was happy to offer their services.
Being in California means there's no shortage of HREs. All the local big-name sponsors were here in force. Notice the carbon ceramic brakes just peeking out.
For this particular rally, the starting line was at the Red Bull HQ in Santa Monica. Gates opened at 8 a.m., and teams soon started rolling in for registration and parked in their respective areas. This was a great time to check out all the cars, reunite with friends, and relax before the rally. All teams were required to sport the official Targa Trophy badge on both front doors, which made it easy to recognize fellow Targa Trophiers. There was quite a unique mix of cars, ranging from a modified Toyota Camry to a fully built show car—a Liberty Walk Widebody M3. After enjoying all the eye candy and drooling over some of the cleanest rides the West Coast has to offer, it was time for the Drivers Meeting and to get the show on the road. Once everyone was briefed, the mass exodus began, as teams started to line up to begin their journey to Las Vegas.
The lovely ladies of Targa Trophy working the registration table.
Gotta get all those bubbles out!
Burt Reynolds would be so proud. Props to this Firebird!
This Allroad caught my eye immediately. It would also later go on to win the "Best in Show European Make."
Some shoes to match the exhaust.
HRE's wheel colors just keep getting better and better. Definitely an eye catcher.
Rallies just aren't rallies without GTR's.
A shout out to my driver, Summerville.
Checkpoint #1, the Tesla Supercharge Station in Barstow, CA. We arrived as a few teams were rolling up. In the distance, you could see other teams frantically searching for an exit after making the same wrong turn that we did. Teams posed their navigators in front of each checkpoint, snapped their picture, and then headed for the next destination.
Checkpoint #2, Peggy Sue's 50s Diner in Victorville, CA. Teams had to buy an ice-cream cone or souvenir and pose with their favorite dinosaur.
Checkpoint #3, Alien Fresh Jerky in Baker, CA. Teams had to buy their favorite flavor of jerky and pose the navigator in front of an alien.
We come in peace!
Checkpoint #4, Red Rock Canyon Overlook just outside Las Vegas. This was coolest checkpoint and also the most scenic.
Enjoying the sun and the view at Checkpoint #4 at the Red Rock Canyon Overlook.
Hmm... Not too sure what happened here...
Checkpoint #5, the final stop, was the MGM Grand, where teams could finally park for good and take a team photo in front of the giant Hakkasan Night Club logo.
After everyone settled in and checked into their rooms at the MGM, it was time to let the spirits flow. The awards ceremony kicked off at 8 p.m. in a private lounge, just below Hakkasan. Teams swapped stories of their journey out to Las Vegas and talked about how they barely escaped the sight of Johnny Law's laser gun.
Targa Trophy Experience 3 Top 3 Overall
Dax Snow - Audi A7
Jordan Jadallah - Audi S4
Chris Gotzman - BMW M5
Top 3 Best In Show
Best Euro - Evan Rowe - Audi AllRoad with AccuAir Suspension
Best JDM - Casey Wallace - Nissan GT-R
Best Overall - Bernardo Pena - LIberty Walk M3