I will confess that I wasn’t 100% sure who he was when I first met Mate Rimac a few years ago on the Nikola Tesla EV Rally in Porec. Something to do with cool electric cars, I had been told. And then I saw the Concept One.
Rather embarrassingly, young Rimac had heard of me and was very complimentary about TCN. Having recognised what a legend the boy was, I managed to get that all-important selfie, and it was only after sharing that on Facebook that I realised what a legend he was when many people from my past who I had not heard from in years started messaging me:
“Is that you and Rimac? Do you actually know him?”
And no, I don’t really know him. We have met briefly 3-4 times briefly and always exchanged a laugh. He comments occasionally on my wall (mostly about posts on Del Boy and Rodney, funnily enough), but the more I have followed the Rimac story, the more I appreciate what he does for Brand Croatia, and what an asset he is for the country’s tourism.
And I had come to that conclusion even before the release of THAT video about living and working in Croatia.
And it turns out that Rimac Automobili offer their own unique tourism experience to visitors to Croatia, one which makes for an excellent day trip out of Zagreb, to the company’s headquarters in Sveta Nedelja, about 25 minutes from Zagreb city centre.
Rimac has kept things very local despite his rapid expansion, and the company is very much at home in the town named the best for the economy for the last three years running.
I had the chance to finally visit the factory where all the magic a few months ago, and I was delighted to learn that there is an officially organised Rimac tour for car enthusiasts.
Details of the tour are in detail below, but I really liked the reception area where it all began, including a fascinating timeline of where it all started, and where it is today. young Mate looking more like Del Boy back in 2006 as a high school student winning national and international awards for innovation with the iGlove, before moving on to ‘the Garage Phase’ with his beat-up 1984 BMW E30.
2011 must have been quite a year – from setting world records to the launch of the prototype of Concept_One as the world’s first all-electric hypercar at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
And so the years rolled by, with a growing team and increased success and international recognition.
The history of the company is beautifully recorded in this timeline, but that is only part of the fascinating tour, which needs to be booked in advance (and I suspect may not be currently available due to coronavirus restrictions).
The standard tour costs 225 kuna (30 euro – 10 euro for students), with a 50 euro premium tour including a test ride with the revolutionary Greyp bikes. Sadly, a ride in the Concept_One or C_Two is reserved for customers only.
But here is what the tour includes, with photos from the official Rimac site – photography on the tour itself is restricted.
Walk down the history line and meet the iconic Concept_One, our technology in other hypercars and our next generation, the C_Two.
Explore of the process of various raw materials turning into molds that go further in the process or into finished parts used in the components or vehicle assembly.
Learn about different composites used in hypercar production as well as the steps taken from mold preparation to a finished part.
Grasp the complexity of our painting process and various methods used to create state-of-the-art hypercars.
Watch all the parts come together in our prototype assembly area.
Meet the team behind the world’s most advanced electric hypercars and EV technology, the brain of the operation.
One of my favourite questions in the tour FAQ is:
CAN WE HAVE A CHAT WITH MATE RIMAC?
Due to Mate’s busy schedule we can’t promise you will have a chance to meet him. Maybe, you will have a chance to see him working with some of our engineers or technicians.
Should corona not be an issue, tours are generally available Monday to Friday from 10:00 – 13:00. You are advised to check everything in advance in these uncertain times on the Rimac tour dedicated page.
And while you are there, why not make a day of it in Sveta Nedelja. The nature is beautiful and the lakes are magical. Check out the official promo video from the Sveta Nedelja Tourist Board.