Tesla Model 3 soundly beats fossil fuel-powered rivals in Targa West Rally

(Credit: @AEVA_National/Twitter)

The Tesla Model 3 Performance has proven itself to be a rather frightening force in rallies, after the all-electric sedan completely dominated the 130 class of the Targa West Rally, ending the race nearly 10 minutes ahead of a lineup of fossil fuel-powered competitors. The Model 3 Performance was driven by Jurgen and Helen Lunsmann, veteran racers who drove the vehicle over four days to complete the 1,000 km race. 

Interestingly enough, the Model 3 Performance, which was racing for West Australian EV charging business Gemtek, is the first all-electric car to dominate the Targa West Rally’s 130 class (130 km/hr speed limited) in such a definitive fashion. So impressive was the Model 3 Performance that it actually beat the times of cars that were competing in the 165 class, which allowed vehicles to go as fast as 165 km/hr. The Tesla still dominated the winner of the 165 class by over 4 minutes.

In a statement to The Driven, Gemtek co-founder Floian Popp stated that the commanding lead of the Model 3 in the Targa West Rally was a testament to the capability of the all-electric sedan. “This is testament to the acceleration of the Tesla Model 3 Performance Plus,” Popp said. He also expressed his thanks to the efforts of volunteers who helped the team perform at its optimum. 

Quite interestingly, the Model 3 was supported by a unique mobile charging system designed by engineer Jon Edwards. Popp noted that it was pertinent for the team to keep the Model 3’s battery charge above 80%, and thus, a system using generators and a Hyundai Kona Electric was used. 

“The critical part to the win was that we were able to maintain battery charge above 80% for almost the entire race, by having three separate mobile chargers, which we coordinated to be in the correct locations as the rally progressed over four days and the 1,000km. Using the Hyundai Kona ‘Electron Transfer Vehicle’ to fast charge at stage starts, and then topping this back up on generators made us very nimble and able to get the electrons where they were needed.

“Our crew of volunteers used GPS trackers to know where the race car and charge vehicles and were in relation to each other. Turning equipment on 5 minutes ahead of arrival to allow it to go through startup procedures (eg the Tritium Veefill) gave us critical minutes during the fast paced itinerary,” the Gemtek co-founder said. 

This was not the first time that the Lunsmann’s Tesla Model 3 Performance completely dominated a competition. Back in August, the all-electric sedan also won at the Targa South West rally’s 130 class. This was despite the Lunsmann’s deliberately slowing down their driving at some point since they were so far ahead of their competitors. 

Watch the Tesla Model 3 Performance in action at the Targa West rally in the video below. 

Simon Alvarez: Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.
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