The Targa Florio is one of the oldest sports car races in existence. Founded in 1906, the race originally was held in the mountains of Sicily, Italy near Palermo and lapped the entire island. In later years, the track was reduced to “just” 45 miles. Run on completely public roads, the race made for some interesting moments during testing and practicing. The circuit was open to the public, so parked cars, sheep, people, or any number of things could at any moment find themselves in front of a race car. Remember these weren’t some small under-powered cars. The Targa Florio was actually used as a round of the World Sportscar Championship up until the race’s demise in 1973. So fast, technologically advanced (for the time) cars would scream around the circuit while the general public was right there and drivers were forced to avoid any manner of things as they attempted to get in some practice.
It takes some rather large ones to have driven the Targa Florio. This will now be demonstrated by Jacky Ickx. If you are unfamiliar with the name, Ickx is a legend in motor racing. His impressive career accomplishments include 6 Le Mans titles, 8 wins and 25 podiums in Formula 1, and 1 overall victory in the Dakar Rally. Ickx was the man, he was one of the legendary drivers to come out of motorsports’ greatest era, also it’s most dangerous. To win back then you needed total commitment. You needed to block out the constant threat of death. Now throw in the added bonus of an open public road being used as a circuit. Even if it is practice, it makes for a very interesting and butt clenching lap. Unless you’re Jacky Ickx. Psh, then drifting your state of the art machine around cars and trucks is just another day in the office.