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Published on March 7th, 2018 | by Steve Hanley


Tesla Model 3: Taking It To The Track!

March 7th, 2018 by  

Two videos of the Tesla Model 3 performing on closed circuit tracks have surfaced on YouTube this week and both are interesting in their own way. The first is by the folks at Consumer Reports. Yeah, it’s not Top Gear stuff with The Stig pushing the car to its limits around Chicago, or Jeremy Clarkson burning through a set of tires in 3.5 seconds, but it’s pretty interesting stuff nonetheless. It is filmed with a 360º camera that allows you to look around at the interior of the car just as if you were sitting in the passenger seat. The second is from an actual Model 3 owner who took his modified Model 3 to a track day at the famous Laguna Seca Raceway in California.

On Track With Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports has only had its test car — which is an early production long range rear wheel drive model — for a few days. It’s interesting to hear the test driver record his initial impressions of the car — fit and finish, acceleration, handling, road noise — from the perspective of someone who has never driven a Model 3 before.

Given the number of complaints from owners of early production cars about fit and finish, it’s good to hear CR found no such issues with its car. What it did have was concerns about the practicality and safety of the center-mounted touch screen, which requires the driver to take his or her eyes off the road to perform many functions. Part of it is just familiarizing oneself with something new, but apparently that feature has caused some controversy among the CR staff already.

The driver praised the car for its nimble handling, but commented that it seemed to ride more harshly and have more wind noise than he expected. Consumer Reports will now put the car through its full testing regimen. We will have the full report for you as soon as it is available.

Tesla Model 3 Meets The Corkscrew

Laguna Seca is just like every other race track in the world. It has straights, kinks, and tight corners. But it has one unique feature — The Corkscrew. Halfway through the lap, the track rises steeply before a tight left turn sends the cars plunging downhill through the esses. It’s dramatic to watch and (I imagine) even more dramatic from behind the wheel. Many world class drivers have come to grief in The Corkscrew over the years.

Model 3 owner Matt Crowley has already modified his car with new springs from Unplugged Performance that lower the ride height by 1.5 inches. He was pleasantly surprised to find his car could manage 9 laps at full throttle with no loss of performance. The limiting factor in terms of performance driving was the brakes, which gave up after only 3 laps. We suspect upgraded calipers, rotors, and pads will be the next items Crowley purchases for his Model 3. You can read more about Crowley’s on track adventure at Jalopnik.

So there you have it. The Model 3 on track in conditions from mild to wild. Enjoy!

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About the Author

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island. You can follow him on Google + and on Twitter.

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