Tesla Owner Hits the Track at Mid-Ohio in His Model 3
The performance variant of the Tesla Model 3 isn't out yet, but that hasn't stopped some owners from flogging their cars.
How good a track car does a Tesla Model 3 make? It has several crucial traits sought after by the engineering teams behind any real performance car, such as a low center of gravity, sharp throttle response, and it doesn't tow much aerodynamic drag, but it does have at least one serious weakness when taken to the track: weight.
All Tesla Model 3s weigh somewhere in the upper 3,000-pound range, and with a driver, the heaviest will eclipse the two ton mark. Anyone who has even heard of Lotus founder Colin Chapman knows of the famous "simply, and add lightness" mantra, and the Model 3's hefty curb weight stands in the way of it being a competent track day toy.
And yet, at least two Model 3 owners have taken their cars to the racetrack. One ran rings around Laguna Seca in March, and another, one Rudy Tanov, who drove the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course over the weekend where he filmed himself lapping the circuit in a video uploaded Saturday. During his lap, his speed topped out at 123 miles per hour, and lateral acceleration at 1 G.
Tanov states his Tesla is outfitted with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, which are available from the factory on the Model 3's 20-inch sport wheels. He praises the car's handling, but as one would expect from a heavy car not built for the rigors of racing, insufficient brakes are bemoaned.
"Car handles well and is neutral," states Tanov in the video description, "but it needs track pads!"
Any day now, Tesla will open up orders for all-wheel-drive and performance variants of the Model 3, as announced by CEO Elon Musk last week via Twitter. Production is planned to begin in July, piling on an extra layer of orders, despite a preexisting volume of orders which Tesla needs to struggle night and day to fulfill. Specifications for the faster Model 3 are not yet known, though it is speculated by Electrek to receive a more powerful rear motor, a front motor, and uprated brakes. As soon as orders open up, we'll know how accurate those guesses are.