Fri Jun 14 2013 16:28:08 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
The Targa Florio was an open road endurance automobile race held in the mountains of Sicily near Palermo. Founded in 1906, it was the oldest sports car racing event, part of the World Sportscar Championship between 1955 and 1973. While the first races consisted of a whole tour of the island, the track length in the race's last decades was limited to the 72 kilometres (45 mi) of the Circuito Piccolo delle Madonie, which was lapped 11 times.
After 1973, it was a national sports car event until it was discontinued in 1977 due to safety concerns. It has since been run as a rallying event, and is part of the Italian Rally Championship.
In its most recent configuration (from 1951 to 1977) the Targa Florio was ten laps on a 45 mile course through the Madonie Mountains of Sicily. Competitors had to traverse mountain roads, switchback hairpins, gravel, mud, and spectators and buildings right up against the edge of the track. Famously, in 1974 it was declared 'too dangerous' to be run as part of the WRC, further confirming its dangerous reputation.