A Formula Easter Estonia Mk20 chassis.


There haven’t been many production manufacturers that have produced more than 1000 cars and where you might think of March, Brabham, Lola, Ralt or Van Diemen you probably wouldn’t think of Estonia’s racing car manufacturer TARK. TARK stands for Tallina Autode Remondi Katsetehas and the completed cars were either called TARKs or more frequently Estonias. The first car was a F3 car built by a small group of enthusiasts in 1958 and in 1960 the Soviet Central Auto Club ordered replicas and production started. Most cars that were built were designed for local formulae such as Formula Vostock but the occasional car that complied with mainline European racing was constructed. TARK were eventually privatised following financial problems and is now known as Kavor Motorsport and now produces custom parts and engines for competition cars.


In 1971 the Mk16 was built to the East European F2 regulations, consisting of a spaceframe chassis clothed in attractive if dated bodywork. It was fitted with disc brakes all round (a rarity in Eastern Europe at that time) and was the first car of its type to have magnesium wheels, it was powered by a 1.5-litre Moskvich engine and it seems there might have been a plan to fit a 1600cc F3 motor. However the Socialist Bloc policy of only racing in formula that would show up national products meant development was switched to the local F3 utilising the 1.2-litre Zhiguli (Lada) engine. Later the Mk16 was modified with side radiators and wings. A new TARK model the Mk18 was introduced and there was no more thought of joining in with the rest of Europe.


Suddenly in 1989 the name TARK returned to the world of F3 when two cars appeared in the German F3 Championship. In fact the connection with TARK was minimal, the project seems to have been part of an unsuccessful plan to use the TARK facilities to produce a formula car to be sold in Eastern Europe. The project ended badly with no cars having been produced.
The TARK Aleko JK173 was a conventional late eighties machine, designed by former Zakspeed employee Johannes Knapp, it was built by the German Eufra team. It had a carbon fibre chassis with inboard suspension and was powered by a VW engine. It was off to a good start in its first race, a non-championship event, when Rosso took second behind one Michael Schumacher and ahead of Karl Wendlinger. Another second in a Championship round at the Nürburgring followed but from then on results fell away and the cars struggled to finish in the top ten. That was the end of the TARK return to championship racing.

1966 Ants Seiler (as Estonia Mk9).

1967 Yuri Andreev (as Estonia Mk9).

1989 Ralf Kelleners, Victor Rosso, Meik Wagner.

1992 Tomas Karhanek.

The Mk16, aerodynamic aids hadn't entered the Iron Curtain yet.
The JK173 on display at a racing car show.