IN A shock move, it has been announced that Octagon Tasmania boss Mark Perry will leave the organisation on March 15 to take on a senior role with V8 Supercars as director of promoted events.
In an e-mail to competitors on Thursday, Perry explained that it was a difficult decision to make to leave his beloved Targa championship but it was the right time to pursue other dreams.
Perry had been in the chair for almost seven years and has overseen significant growth in the organisation's activities with the introduction of Targa Wrest Point, Targa High Country and Targa Adelaide as well as the organisation and running of the Mark Webber Challenge.
Perry is particularly proud of the progression from Targa Tasmania as a single event to what is now a CAMS-sanctioned four- round championship series held across three states.
"I will be leaving Targa in great shape and well positioned to continue to build a reputation as a genuine motor sport category in its own right," said the former Targa Tasmania competitor.
After 12 years with Octagon, clerk of course Stuart Benson will move into the position of group director-motorsports and head up the Targa team.
In his new role with V8 Supercars, Perry will be responsible for the promotion and delivery of the nine rounds of the championship which are promoted by V8 Supercars Australia with the remaining six to be promoted and run by the individual circuit owners.
Interestingly the first cab off the rank for Perry will be the Tasmanian event at Symmons Plains on April 5-7.
Perry has indicated that he will be returning for Targa Tasmania in April to support Benson and the team.
DESPITE not having turned a wheel before last weekend's V8 Supercars official test day at Sydney Motorsport Park, the new Car of the Future Nissan Altima finished up with the fifth fastest time in the hands of an elated Rick Kelly.
It was an impressive first up performance for the Jack Daniels car even allowing for a few new car teething problems and it was all the more impressive when it was revealed that the new all-alloy Nissan engine was not running at peak power.
Brad Jones Racing team drivers Jason Bright and Fabian Coulthard were fastest overall in their new VF Holden Commodores but the Nissan was less than seven-tenths of a second slower.
The team elected to run only two of its four cars leaving Todd Kelly and new signing Michael Caruso to watch while the younger Kelly and teammate James Moffat ran a total of 90 laps without major dramas.
Todd Kelly admitted that he was surprised at how well the car performed and the times recorded. "It exceeded our expectations because we still have quite a bit of R&D to do on the engine so it can only get better from here" he said.
The other V8 Supercar newcomer, Erebus Motorsport, ran all three of its new Mercedes Benz E Class sedans with V8 Supercar rookie Maro Engel finishing an impressive 14th with Tim Slade 20th and Lee Holdsworth 24th.