Tesla stole the show at a Targa Rally in Australia over the weekend. A Tesla Model 3 Performance scored a victory at the Targa South West tarmac rally. The rally is divided into different categories — one of the categories, Targa 130, featured 16 stages that ranged between 2.9 and 15.8 km (1.8 to 9.8 miles). The winning couple, Jurgen and Helen Lunsmann, had the best combined time, 1:00:17, TechAU noted.
The couple had been racing for around five years. They started with a Tesla Roadster, and now clearly prefer a Model 3. The second-place competitor was Evans Stutt in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7, just 4 minutes and some change behind the Lunsmanns. The race for the Targa 130 Category had a total of 9 competitors.
The Targa Rally is a type of motorsport in which the cars compete on roads that are closed for the competition. The cars start at 30-second intervals and race against time. The winner is the fastest over all of the stages, and cars are divided by class. The categories are for Competition, Targa 165, Targa 130, and a non-timed Targa Tour. The race was held over two days, and the competitors drove over 380 km (236 miles). You can learn more about the race here.
One thing TechAU covered was the charging. When EV owners race their vehicles, they have to make sure their cars are charged, and that they have a system in place to keep the battery charged. One unique way that the article shared they dealt with this was the Model 3 Performance was charged from some device in the back of a Hyundai Kona EV.
How do you charge an electric race car in regional Western Australia? Siphon another EV battery between race stages… pic.twitter.com/OhKkcqs1o2
— 🌎🔥Rob&Rob Dean (@robrobdean) August 8, 2020
Oddly, this made me think of giving a car a jump.
Also based in Australia, TheDriven’s Bridie Schmidt covered the race as well. Her article has some pretty sweet photos provided by Rob Dean. She also noted that GemTek normally uses a specially designed model charging station that is powered by a diesel generator. That is a bit controversial, but sometimes unique situations (such as racing) call for old habits until you can find a way to break them — as Gemtek has done in this race by substituting another EV instead of its usual go-to for charging.
Jon Edwards, the person who designed and built a diesel-powered EV charger that The Driven covered in another article, created a mobile DC charger to top up the Model 3 in 10-minute sessions that kept the charge above 80%. The team chose 80% due to calculations that the Model 3 loses horsepower when its state of charge falls below that level.
In a statement prior to the race, Gemtek’s co-owner and EV Targa tour manager, Florian Popp, said, “Normally the Tesla has a range of about 450 kilometers, but during competition, we’re working on a factor of 5-to-1, so about 80 or 90 kilometers before it needs charging.” Popp also added, “As we all become more climate aware, and with the trajectory of clean energy, it’s a great opportunity to educate people about electric cars in a fun way.”
Racing Our Way To A Future Filled With EVs
The idea of racing an electric vehicle was once laughable. Racing, at least here in the US, is a male-dominated sport in which women are usually on the sidelines cheering (and in the case of some of my racing fan friends, drooling over the hot drivers). However, there is one driver who is hot, and she (yes, she) was the first person I came across whose voice rings loudly in the world of EV racing.
Leilani Münter, an environmentalist and vegan with a degree in biology, is one you wouldn’t expect to be racing in events such as NASCAR or Daytona, and in the Indy Pro Series. However, if you’re going to push the EV movement into its target market (everyone), sometimes you have to go to where your target market is in order for them to listen to you. Meet them where they are now, show them that an EV can race and win, and show them that it is possible for them to not only exist but also be used in everyday life.
In an interview with Autoblog back in 2014, Münter spoke of how she drove her personal Tesla Model S from North Carolina to Chicago and used Tesla’s Supercharger Network to keep her car charged. “My degree is in biology, so I’ve always been eco-minded. I wanted to show people that this is a technology that is available to us now and that you can make long trips.”
That was six years ago, which seems like forever now. We are continuing to race faster and faster into a future filled with EVs — not just on the track but on the roads as well. As for the track, though, we’ve got one more fun story. The idea of racing is evolving even further as Tesla’s Autopilot takes its turn in the driver’s seat. This took place on a private race track owned by Out of Spec Motoring. The vehicle in question was a Tesla Model Y Performance, and the team’s final verdict was that “the Tesla Model Y Performance rips through the track like a rally car.” Tesla Autopilot handled most of the turns easily except for a sharp turn at the nose of the track.