Back in August, I shared the story about a Tesla Model 3 winning a Targa rally for the first time. The race was held at Targa South West in Australia and was divided into different categories. For the first time, Gemtek’s Tesla Model 3 won the Targa 130, which featured 16 stages.
Gemtek Group’s co-founder, Florian Popp, shared his excitement on LinkedIn about the upcoming race that is happening next weekend. “I can’t believe next week is another Targa weekend! Jumping in the car and fleeing the hustle of the big smoke is usually a great way to unwind. Unless there’s a 1000km itinerary to navigate against a field of hungry petrol racers,” he wrote.
The rally will have a total of 54 West Australian tarmac rally drivers who will race the streets of Perth against the clock for the 16th Make Smoking History Targa West. The event will be held on the weekend of October 22–25 and competitors will start at 30-second intervals. The winner will be the fastest over all 36 stages, which is a total of 268 competitive kilometers over the span of four days.
Gemtek also just released a short video titled “5 Years in the Making,” where, set against uplifting music, a slideshow of their progress is presented. The one goal is this one prize, and to get there you must never give up. I’ll definitely be rooting for Gemtek and their Tesla Model 3 to win another Targa rally. What they are doing with an electric vehicle is powerful. They are going into a world where predominantly ICE vehicles rule and are challenging the conventional views of electric vehicles.
Just How Environmentally Damaging Is Motorsports?
Here in the US, motorsports are the second most watched type of sports. In 2006, The Guardian published an article about how motorsports are killing the planet. The author of the article pointed out that climate change is really a matter of life and death — which is the same attitude that many sports fans have when it comes to events and their teams. Motorsports, at least back in 2006, was just simply incompatible with any type of solution to the problem of climate change. With electric vehicles on the roads today, though, professional race drivers have a chance to bring fresh, clean energy into this carbon-choked type of sport.
Just last year, ESPN pointed out that the environment will be Formula 1’s biggest challenge in the coming decade. That article includes a breakdown of F1’s carbon emissions: Logistics — which are road, air, and sea freight — account for 45% of F1’s carbon emissions. Personal travel takes up 27.7%. Factories and facilities take up 19.3%. And the events are only 7.3%. The total F1 car emissions, including all race and test milage, are just 0.7%. So, there are actually much bigger issues about such events than the fuel the race cars burn.
The article also noted that, back in 2018, F1 determined that its total carbon emissions were at 256,551 tonnes, and these did not include the fans’ transport to races. Despite F1’s claims of wanting to have sustainable races by 2025, and become net carbon neutral by 2030, F1 seems to be blowing hot smoke in your faces with these hopes and dreams. Lewis Hamilton, who is a six-time world champion and one of the most outspoken members of the motorsport community on climate change, shared that he believed F1 isn’t doing that much.
“I think for at least the next 50 years you are going to have the same questions being asked. The world is slow to change and I don’t see it changing drastically any time soon. F1 is only implementing it [net carbon neutral status] in 10 years’ time and I don’t fully understand why that doesn’t change sooner. These large corporations have a lot of money and power behind them and can definitely make change happen quicker, but it’s not their number one priority. So, until there is a point where it is the number one priority for governments and for the world, then it’s going to continue to be a slow-burner I think. That’s my general opinion,” Hamilton told ESPN.
ESPN also looked at Formula E, the all-electric series which doesn’t produce any emissions from its EVs. The article pointed out that this eco-message is a dream for car manufacturers and that the launch of the Formula E came at just the right time.
As legacy manufacturers continue to dance around the idea of racing EVs while heavily supporting ICE vehicles, it is up to those driving EVs to continue to raise awareness. This is why people like those at Gemtek and drivers like Leilani Münter (retired from racing but still an advocate) are so important — they are spreading awareness and showing the world that EVs are the better cars to use in motorsports.
However, much still needs to be done about all the other stuff, the 99.3% of F1’s carbon emissions that aren’t from the cars. And that goes for all sorts of events — motor sports events, other sporting events, and far beyond.