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Targa Florio

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Targa Florio

The Targa Florio was an open road endurance automobile race held near Palermo, Sicily. The race was created in 1906 by the wealthy pioneer race driver and automobile enthusiast, Vincenzo Florio, who had started the "Coppa Florio" race in Brescia, Lombardy in 1900. Always one of the toughest competitions in Europe, the first Targa Florio covered 277 miles through multiple hairpin curves on treacherous mountain roads at heights where severe changes in climate frequently occurred. Alessandro Cagno won the inaugural 1906 race in nine hours, averaging just over 29 miles per hour.

By the mid-1920s, the Targa Florio had become one of Europe's most important races. In 1926, Eliska Junkova, one of the great female drivers in Grand Prix motor racing history, became the first woman to ever compete in the race.

Over the years, the greats of Grand Prix racing and Formula One such as Argentina's Juan Manuel Fangio, Belgium's Olivier Gendebien and Britain's Stirling Moss came to challenge Italian champions, Tazio Nuvolari, Alfieri Maserati, Achille Varzi and others.

After winning the race several times, Porsche named convertible version of the 911 after the Targa, which means shield. This car was only available with a large roll bar.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, race cars with up to 600hp raced through small mountains villages while the people were sitting or standing right next to or even on the road.

Due to safety concerns, the last real Targa Florio as an international professional race was run in 1973. It was continued as a minor event for some years.

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