Watch Tesla Model 3 Take On An Autocross Course


Power to the parking lot!

We’ve seen the Tesla Model 3 perform on a drag strip, as well as a road racing circuit and, aside from a brake issue suffered at Laguna Seca, the mid-sized electric appears to acquit itself quite well.  But, until the above footage surfaced, we still hadn’t seen how well it does on an autocross course.

Read Also: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Official Autocross Event: Video And Gallery

Now, auto-X, as it is also sometimes called, is one of the most popular forms of racing in the U.S., with events organized in parking lots across the land, most notably by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). It’s a discipline that asks for lots of low-end grunt, as well as the ability to carve corners. It’s really the most fun you can have with a car, trysts aside, on a modest budget.

This particular Model 3, recently delivered to one CJ Couch, who is also the pilot in this clip, appears to be pretty much stock, and was entered into the “Novice C” class of an event called “AutoX #3 – 4th Annual Unofficial North Carolina Tour.” Though he only got five runs in, Couch appears to have improved as the day wore on, scoring this best time of 66.944 on the second-last run. Compared to others in the same class, he wasn’t the best (a Ford Focus ST), but neither was he the worst (a Ford Taurus).

According to the driver, the car performed perfectly, and there was no problem with overheating. He did not, though, mention anything about wear and tear on the brake pads. We hope to see more from this car in the future, so if it makes a return to competition, we’ll let you know.

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Range: 310 miles; 136/123 mpg-e. Still maintaining a long waiting list as production ramps up slowly, the new compact Tesla Model 3 sedan is a smaller and cheaper, but no less stylish, alternative, to the fledgling automaker’s popular Model S. This estimate is for a Model 3 with the “optional” (at $9,000) long-range battery, which is as of this writing still the only configuration available. The standard battery, which is expected to become available later in 2018, is estimated to run for 220 miles on a charge. Tesla Model 3 charge port (U.S.) Tesla Model 3 front seats Tesla Model 3 at Atascadero, CA Supercharging station (via Mark F!) Tesla Model 3 Tesla Model 3 The Tesla Model 3 is not hiding anymore! Tesla Model 3 (Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs) Tesla Model 3 Inside the Tesla Model 3 Tesla Model 3 rear seats Tesla Model 3 Road Trip arrives in Tallahassee Tesla Model 3 charges in Tallahassee, trunk open.

Source: Tesla Racing Channel

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10 Comments on "Watch Tesla Model 3 Take On An Autocross Course"

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Thomas J. Thias - Clean Energy Retort™

Dominic, my friend, I’ll ignore your slight about battery
overheating on any grid short of the 12.2 mile Nürburgring Ring course after top speed multiple runs but I can’t, not, comment about this:
You wrote-

“~ He did not, though, mention anything about wear and tear on the brake pads.”

Well of course not and it should be a core grasp for you that electric car breaking is primarly achieved by traction motor/s braking in responce to brake pedal downward

Certain platforms like GM Voltec include a shifter “L” position that utilises both Motor generator’s B And A to slow the vehicle dramatically to almost a full stop without friction braking Usage with release of the accelerator pedal.

This creates a ton of downforce that grips the car into the turns and adds a layer of sport handling into the mix.
“L” position return’s an interesting amount of range back into the battery as well.

The new Gen2 Nissan LEAF e-Pedal tech serves a similar

So, I would expect the brake pads to be cool to the touch after sucessive runs.


Thomas J. Thias

Hi, Thomas! I mention overheating — not of the battery, specifically — because the Model 3’s sibling, the Model S, is known for thermal limiting if it’s pushed hard enough for long enough. Something that hasn’t been seen in this new car, so I wanted to underline that improvement. It wasn’t meant as a slight. The Model S is a great car, but it wasn’t designed to race all out for any amount of distance, even if it does quite well for itself in a number of conditions. Now, the brakes I bring up because the one Model 3 that saw Laguna Seca track time (linked in the story) went through its brake pads in a few short laps. Of course, this auto-X doesn’t have quite the same speeds as what was involved on the bigger track, but I wanted to emphasize they didn’t appear to suffer that same sort of trauma. You’re absolutely right that EVs in general can get a lot of braking from the electric motors, but in the case of this Model 3, it’s rear-wheel-drive. That means it can’t capture as much energy or offer quite as much braking as an all-wheel-drive or front-wheel-drive motor. For… Read more »

And yet, there’s something called the Electric GT, which involves race-modified Tesla Model S. So… combine that with the Pike’s Peak run, and your argument is less solid about the Model S not being a proven race car. I think, as-is, cooling does need to be tuned, sure. Swapping out the glycol substrate with the stuff 3M made last year sure sounds reasonable as a race upgrade. Motor cooling may also require some work. In the end, cooling isn’t as difficult to solve as handling dynamics. When your CoG is below the axle, yeah, that’s hard to best!

The current Model 3’s are all RWD. He won’t be using much regen into those turns.

Just about every word of your post is demonstrably false. “Downforce” created by regen? Regen stopping a car at racing speeds without the use of friction brakes? Puh-lease….

Put the bong down and read a bit about vehicle dynamics.

Agreed, DL. That post was complete nonsense regarding track use.

Overheating electrical components is something that is a cause for concern, as Audi is finding out and thus recalling electric pumps which could burst into flames. 142k or so. Tesla has the best batteries, the new cell is simply superior, and Tesla know how to design a pack to put them in a pack, putting them together really fast takes time, but point being is cars a nightmare to make safe and electrical components need to be judiciously designed with, above all, safety in mind, but battery life, ATMS, optimal size, and improving chemistries are here, as evidenced by Tesla’s new cell. Related but not specifically is that no one can design a fool proof car, though I think if there is a wall in front of you the car should not allow you to try and drive through it. That seems rudimentary, but it isn’t, so whose fault is that. Or when you hit a barrier head-on at 70 mph, no car will save you. Trucks, Cars are dangerous, so slow down, turn off the cell phone, and drive safe. The car industry acts a lot like the software industry they put something out then fix it when it… Read more »

You are forgetting the notorious Tesla crash in Mexico city. That should not have been a survivable crash and yet the driver ran away from the seen because of concerns over a DUI charge.

Love the video … I want to see how its times compare to other souped-up cars that guys (mostly guys, anyway) take out to autocross. It brings back some neat memories from when I did that, in my Dad’s Lotus 7, years ago.

Here’s a link to the final results of everything at the event.