Do Drag Radials Make A Gutted Tesla Model S P100D Even Quicker? – Video

2 weeks ago by Domenick Yoney 12

Tesla Racing Channel attempts to answer a burning (rubber) question

The performance version of the Tesla Model S goes with drag racing like hands in gloves, like peanut butter with chocolate, like stripes on a tiger, like…ok, you get where we’re going with this: it’s a natural match. Acceleration from a dead stop in a straight line is truly and Ludicrously one of this cars strengths. And quite a bit of fun to watch as well.

Tesla

Tesla Model S P100D for the win

Unlike internal combustion-powered vehicles, though, there aren’t a whole lot of things you can do to improve quarter-mile times from the the factory. There are no cold air intake kits or turbos you can bolt on to increase performance. The only Supercharger available for the Tesla serves a completely different purpose than one you might buy from Edelbrock or Whipple. Still, there are steps one can take to improve track times — just ask the guys behind the popular Tesla Racing Channel on Youtube.

Recently, their wheel man has been showing up at events with a refreshed-fascia Model S P100D that’s had its weight reduced by an extreme stripping out of most of the unnecessary bits. There’s no frunk up front, the interior has been gutted, the front seats replaced with aluminum racing buckets, and lightweight wheels from BBS now sit at each corner. The end result is a 360-lb drop from the 4960-lb factory figure. Impressive.

In a game that’s won by shaving off tenths, even hundredths, of a second, the team has now taken to testing different wheel sizes and tire types. In its latest video (above), they make several passes with the Tesla outfitted with the 19″ BBS wheels shod with Mickey Thompson drag radials, recording a top time of 10.65 seconds. One might think that would be a winning formula, but experimentation is the only way to confirm any hypothesis.

For their fourth rip down the asphalt ribbon, they substituted 21″ wheels from T-Sportline wearing OEM Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber. A lighter, yet less “sticky” tire on a heavier wheel with a larger circumference. Despite some amount of wheel spin off the line, this was the winning formula, with an impressive elapsed time of only 10.56 seconds. Their driver conjectures that, since the Tesla pulls hardest at lower speeds, the larger wheels lend a hand with acceleration a little further down the line. Indeed, the traction control system seems to work well enough to not really benefit from any extra treadless stickiness.

The next test for the Tesla Racing Channel will be to take what they’ve learned here and take the next step. That is, match up their 19″ BBS wheels with rubber much lighter than the drag radials used in this test. What ever they try, it all makes for a good excuse to watch these guys pit their electric monster against any number of modified Evo’s, Mustangs, and Hellcats. And usually win.

Source: Tesla Racing Channel

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12 responses to "Do Drag Radials Make A Gutted Tesla Model S P100D Even Quicker? – Video"

  1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    “…Model S P100D that’s had its weight reduced by an extreme stripping out of most of the unnecessary bits. There’s no frunk up front, the interior has been gutted, the front seats replaced with aluminum racing buckets, and lightweight wheels from BBS now sit at each corner. The end result is a 360-lb drop from the 4960-lb factory figure. Impressive.”

    An earlier article claimed that a Model S (was it one competing in the Pike’s Peak race?) had had 1000 lb. stripped out. I wondered just where they could possibly find all that weight and still leave the exterior of the car looking unchanged. Now I’m wondering if that was a wild exaggeration.

    1. JK says:

      The 1,000 pound claimed weight loss really caught my attention as well. I wonder if there was a communication error such as 450 lbs somehow became 450 kilograms?

      1. JK says:

        The drag car still appears to have original glass, original dash, original interior door coverings, and interior headliner.

        All the glass, air bags, sound system, sound deadening material could amount to quite a bit I guess.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Well, the Pike’s Peak racing Model S had the headliner and, I think, the interior portions of the doors removed, as well as some lower parts of the dash (see photo linked below), so apparently that was a more aggressive weight reduction than the one described in this article.

          Still, the difference between 360 lbs and 800 lbs is quite startling. If they really did reduce the weight by 800 lbs, then I suspect they drilled and sawed holes in some internal structural members. Perhaps lots of holes.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Edit: This comment should have been posted as a reply to Domenick Yoney’s comment below. Mea culpa.

    2. Domenick Yoney says:

      According to Inside EVs updated report (link below), that car had 800 lbs removed. Sounds a bit high to me, considering it had a roll cage added. I’d take that figure with a bit of salt unless someone can find some verification.

      http://insideevs.com/tesla-model-s-compete-first-time-ever-pikes-peak-hill-climb/

      1. JK says:

        Thanks for the research and your article. I sure would like to know where all the weight is located in the typical modern car.

    3. Timothy Vollmer says:

      You’d be amazed how heavy a modern car door is. My 1972 MG Midget doors probably weight about 30-40 pounds each, and as the name implies they’re tiny. That’s also with no sound deadening, manual locks, manual windows, no crash protection, no speakers, and obviously no motorized door handle. I’d bet that they probably weight around 100 pounds a piece. Stripping them out or replacing them with fiberglass shells with lexan or plexiglass x4 plug replacing the glass in the rear hatch would get you 400-500 pounds alone without touching the rest of the interior.

  2. georgeS says:

    “Indeed, the traction control system seems to work well enough to not really benefit from any extra treadless stickiness.”

    I don’t know if we can conclude that. It could be that the larger diameter and lower weight just had a bigger effect and swamped the fact that there was also less sticky tires.

  3. ffbj says:

    The question asked is:
    “Who in their right mind would street race a Tesla?”

    Here is smattering of examples. Loud noisy and obnoxious, and so are their cars.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Not sure those qualify under the “in their right mind” category. 😉

      1. ffbj says:

        It’s a quote, and I agree with you, as the same question arose in my mind.

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