The successful TOCEVA racing team is about to commence the Perth-to-Sydney Electric Vehicle Marathon on the 28th of October, and as founding owners of the TOCEVA team, we took a step back in time and reflected on the rich history of how the TOCEVA racing team became what it is today.
In 2016, we were and still are today one of the key players to lead the charge for developing infrastructure for electric vehicles in the Western Australia market. The infrastructure required for electric vehicles, found a set of unique challenges in the Western Australian landscape, including long roads and small grids. While we were busy researching and developing ways to combat these challenges, the Tesla rally team was born as a proof-of-concept, to help us find the right solution, as explained by Gemtek founder Florian Popp, ‘We started at the local Targa rally for the purpose of our own research and development, as well as to engage the local motorsports community”.
In this time, the Gemtek racing team begun entering events with an electric BMW, and in 2018 they upgraded their BMW to the Tesla Roadster, bringing more attention to the ability of the electric car. In 2019, one of the key sponsors, Jon Edwards invested into the team further, with the purchase of a Tesla Model 3 Performance, with the end goal of winning a Targa rally event.
In 2020, the Gemtek racing team won the Targa Southwest 130 event, and since then Gemtek racing evolved and became the TOCEVA racing, ran by local Western Australian EV enthusiasts, and who continue to race the Tesla Model 3 Performance.
The Tesla Performance Model 3 is effectively a standard Tesla with the only upgrades being racing brake pads, racing tyres (on standard 18inch wheels) and a roll cage. The TOCEVA racing team led by Jon Edwards worked to strip the interior ready for the roll cage, and then painstakingly replaced, altered, and fabricated new parts for the interior to get the car ready for racing.
Ed Kestel, one of the founders of Gemtek Racing and Gemtek’s EV Solution Architect sat down and put together the timeline from the beginning of Gemtek Racing to TOCEVA Racing, and where they are today.
2016 – Joseph Law and Gemtek Automation partner to become the world’s first private driving team to successfully complete an official Australian CAMS motor racing event in an Electric Vehicle.
August 2017 – Gemtek Racing entered the electric BMW in the line up for one of Australia’s most prestigious tarmac motor racing events, Quit Targa West as part of a global movement to adopt this game changing technology. Jurgen Lunsman, professional Tarmac Rally driver was enlisted to drive the car and set a benchmark EV time in two key stages – Malaga Special Stage and Langley Park Super Stage
2018 – Florian Popp imported the 2011 Telsa Roadster from Japan as the next Gemtek electric vehicle race car.
2019 – Major sponsor, Jon Edwards purchased the Tesla Model 3 Performance for the Gemtek race team.
August 2020 – Gemtek racing enters the Targa Southwest 130 class and wins with more than a 4-minute lead in front of their nearest rivals across 16 tarmac stages.
January 2021 – The TOCEVA racing team finished in 4th place overall in the 2020 season of Targa Cup, competing in the Targa 130 class speed.
November 2021 – Gemtek racing becomes TOCEVA Racing, a group of enthusiasts from the Tesla Owners Club of Western Australia and the Australian Electric Vehicle Association.
December 2021- The TOCEVA racing team’s Tesla Model 3 finished first in the Targa 165 category and tenth overall in the 2021 Targa Cup, beating approximately 50 other competitors and was the only electric vehicle in the rally, that involved short stages adding up to 1,000kms over four days.
June 2022 – The TOCEVA racing team were making History in the Targa South West competition, the only Electric Vehicle (EV) in the competition was husband and wife team Jurgen and Helen Lunsmann in the 2019 Tesla 3 Performance who posted some impressive stage times early in the rally, and were sitting in second place overall ahead of the long Pemberton to Northcliffe stages. They finished in fifth outright, showing that the EV is an outright competitive car.
October 2022 – The TOCEVA Electric rally car is preparing to take off for the upcoming Perth-to-Sydney Marathon 2022, which will see the car travel 5700km in 10 days.