The Porsche Taycan was recently driven around the Top Gear circuit where it did exceedingly well, but now it’s time for the Tesla Model 3 to impress on-track. This particular Model 3 was modified by Unplugged Performance and thus it was able to almost match the lap time of one of the most iconic supercars of all time, the McLaren F1.
What Unplugged Performance did to this particular Model 3 was to give it uprated (and lowered) suspension, complete with stiffer antiroll bars, as well as carbon ceramic brakes and lightweight 20-inch rims shod in track-focused Michelin Cup 2 tires. The car also had a body kit complete with a Voltex Carbon GT rear wing that is said to actually improve downforce.
The result is the modified Model 3 was just shy of matching a McLaren F1 around the famed Tsukuba track in Japan. It’s also worth noting that the driver who undertook the lap time challenge wasn’t a pro, just a local driver who does frequent track days around Tsukuba in his own car - this fact makes the time even more impressive, though, instead of detracting from its credibility, because it's reasonable to expect the car to be even faster in the hands of a pro.
The entire kit is called the Ascension-R and thanks to the style of the body kit, it really does look like it was done by a Japanese tuner (even though the company is actually based in Hawthorne, California).
Now back to talking about the lap. The Model 3 Ascension-R completed its fastest lap around the circuit in a very impressive 1:04.7, which puts it exactly one tenth behind the McLaren F1. It was actually faster than the Ferrari F40 and a Porsche 911 GT3 (997), both of which were clocked at exactly 1:04.8.
This is undeniably a very impressive result, and one that makes us wonder just how much faster the car would have been with a stripped out interior and some slick or semi-slick tires.