Tesla vastly improves Model 3 Track Mode prior to its rollout
About one month ago, Motor Trend took an early version of the Tesla Model 3 Performance Track Mode software to the track. They put the Model 3 up against an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio and a Jaguar I-Pace. The speed of the Tesla was impressive. It set a a street legal production-car EV record on the Streets of Willow track. However, handling was not up to snuff.
Racer Randy Pobst had issues with the two all electric contenders. The I-Pace and the Model 3 both ended up off the track. Randy said of the Model 3:
It's very easy to get understeer, the car's handling is sometimes inconsistent, and there's something weird happening when I lift off the brake.
It turns in quickly, especially with throttle lift, but there's not a ton of feel from the front end. Get to the power too early, and the handling just devolves into massive understeer.
Naturally, Tesla engineers were not pleased with this outcome. They immediately got back to work on improving Track Mode. Going so far as to reach out to Randy and bring him in to assist with tuning. During testing one of the engineers was actually sitting in the Model 3 with him, typing away on his laptop while Randy tested adjustments on the fly.
It was fascinating to have that engineer sitting next to me, hanging on for dear life, holding a laptop and actually typing into it while I'm driving at speed.
So what did they change?
In order to improve Track Mode, Tesla made several adjustments after consulting with Randy. The updated software reduces regenerative braking at lower speeds and makes other tweaks to help improve under steering. Tesla also swapped the stock tires for Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s and improved Brembo brake pads.
After these modifications were complete, Randy put it to the test yet again. This time the Model 3 clocked in at 1:21.49, a significant improvement over the car's previous 1:23.90. This beats the time set by the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio of 1:22.78 from the previous month. It even bests the time set by the 2011 Ferrari 458 Italia (1:22.30) and matches the time of the 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4.
This makes the Model 3 Performance with Track Mode engaged the quickest sport sedan around according to Motor Trend. But of course, Elon Musk begs to differ:
Source: Motor Trend