A brace of the world’s most exotic cars are headed for one of the world’s great automobile adventures as five ‘supercars’ make the long trek from Alberta to the start of the 10th annual Targa Newfoundland.

The names conjure visions of the greatest sports cars of the century – Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati. And although it’s the first time most of their names have appeared on the Targa Newfoundland entry list, group organizer Zahir Rana thinks a visit to Newfoundland is overdue.

Rana, principal of ZR Exotic Auto of Calgary and self-described car-crazy, believes that the world’s most sophisticated cars are meant to be enjoyed on some of the world’s most challenging roads. Rana’s company sells, services and modifies exotic cars, and in between time organizes driving adventures for customers who share his belief that fine cars are only appreciated when they’re driven. Rana views the five cars coming to Targa 2011 as the vanguard of a legion of exotic car owners who are looking for opportunities to see interesting places from the driver’s seat.

The roll-call of cars coming to Targa reads like every car aficionado’s lottery-win wish list: a pair of Ferrari F430s (a Spyder and a 707 hp coupe from tuner Novitec Rosso), Lamborghini Murcielago LP750, Saleen S7, Maserati MC12 (one of just 50 in the world), and what Rana determines is the world’s fastest Ferrari Enzo. Each is a coveted supercar in its own right and worthy of a magazine spread.

But while their collective value is greater than the national debt of several small countries, Rana says the cars’ owners are remarkably down-to-earth. “They’re really normal folks who really love cars. They’re enthusiasts, and they own terrific cars, but they’re just like passionate car fans everywhere. They want to enjoy their cars and I make sure they do.”

Rana organizes several trips a year, and has taken his followers through exotic locations in Canada and the US. He’s organized charity events, and generated considerable attention last year when he staged a race between his exotic Ferrari and a Canadian Forces CF-18 jet on the runway at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta.

“We have fun,” he grins.

“We just love the idea of coming to Newfoundland,” Rana says. “Last year, a group of us went to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI and had a terrific time. We said, ‘One day, we should do Newfoundland’. Then I saw the Targa show on TSN and said, ‘Wow! That’s us’!” In addition to the drivers and navigators and service crew for the cars, Rana has invited a video crew and some media from Germany to capture the story.

The visit to Targa is also a fact-finding mission for Rana. The cars will be part of a separate touring event that is not included in the regular competition – a chance, he says, to better understand the event and prepare proper competition cars for next year.

Owned and operated by Newfoundland International Motorsports Limited, Targa Newfoundland is one of three internationally recognized Targa motorsports events in the world. The 10th annual Targa Newfoundland will start in St. John’s on Saturday, September 10, 2011, and end back in the capital Saturday, September 17. The competition will cover more than 2,000 kilometres of the challenging, twisty roads of the central and eastern portion of Newfoundland, including up to 450 kilometres of closed-road, flat-out Targa stages.

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