Targa Tasmania has reached 300 entrants for the first time in a non-anniversary year as it seeks to bounce back from 2020's cancelled event.
About 80 entries came in the last month taking the total to 311 and creating a slight logistical headache for organisers as they attempted to find accommodation for participants in regional areas.
About 98 per cent of participants come from interstate, with Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane the event's biggest markets.
Targa Australia chief executive officer Mark Perry said some had waited to see whether border restrictions would be in place following the Brisbane outbreak, and then decided to make the trip to Tasmania.
He said COVID had, in the end, benefited an event like Targa into the future.
"COVID has really changed how we all think, we don't want COVID, but the reality for us is it's really given the whole thing a bit of a shot in the arm, and helped people to really appreciate the benefits and the joy," Mr Perry said.
"Like the other events, we're all in the same boat. We've done it really tough, the last year has been hard to keep everyone employed and keep it going.
"All the teams are back, Porsche are back, Lamborghini, they're all back. Everyone has just been itching to get back to it."
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Competitors set off from the Hotel Grand Chancellor on Monday morning for the first day of the event, which included six stages near Elizabeth Town, Latrobe, Forth, Sheffield, Quamby Bluff and Poatina.
Participants will spend Monday and Tuesday night in Launceston before heading for the West Coast.
Mr Perry said the lack of international travel had not impacted the event, and while they were hopeful of encouraging European competitors in the future, it was not central to Targa's viability.
"Internationals for us have always been a bonus to the event. It's always great to have people come from overseas, but it's never relied on that," he said.
"We're generally at the wrong time of the year for people on the other side of the world, they're going into their summer season. So to get cars out from Europe, it's always been logistically difficult.
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"Next year we've got some massive plans for bringing people out from Europe. Obviously if they can come at that point in time."
Targa Tasmania will celebrate its 30th year in 2022.
The Liberals have promised to $21.5 million to major events in Tasmania, including Targa, Dark Mofo, Festivale, Junction and Mona FOMA - a continuation of government funding post-election.
Labor has promised $5 million to help events adapt to COVID restrictions.