No, a Tesla Model 3 on Slick Tires Didn't Break EV Lap Record at Laguna Seca
It may not be a new lap record, but the Model 3 modified with racing tires, suspension, and aero kit is surely a stealthy rocket.
A modified Tesla Model 3 Performance has made news across the internet for supposedly breaking Laguna Seca's sedan lap record, allegedly usurping the Jaguar XE SV Project 8 while setting a new electric vehicle record in the process. But is the Tesla actually a new record-holder? For three critical reasons, nope.
EV blog Teslarati proclaimed Tuesday that an upgraded Model 3 Performance "shatters [sic] all-time EV lap record at Laguna Seca" with a time of 1:37.5 around the famous California circuit. This time is 0.040 faster than the XE SV Project 8's time. The Tesla in question was modified by Mountain Pass Performance with in-house improvements to its suspension geometry, adjustable coilovers, bigger brakes, and outsourced components like lightweight wheels and a Maier lip and spoiler.
MPP fielded its official driver Sasha Anis to demonstrate what a Model 3 Performance equipped with these mods could do, and Anis delivered, slapping a stellar time on the table at the "Tesla Corsa" track event this past Friday.
As the video shows, it was a darn good lap, but it's no record-breaker, for reasons that begin with the lap's questionable timekeeping. Anis and MPP rounded their result down from the official 1:37.566 clocked by Tesla Corsa's organizer Speed Ventures, which kept timing through the RaceHero app. Contrary to the crew's claim, this isn't the quickest electric lap of Laguna Seca, which is acknowledged by Refuel—a sister event to Tesla Corsa under the same ownership—to be a 1:32.046, as set in 2012 by Kevin Mitz in the Kleenspeed EV-X11.
So if it's not an electric lap record, what about the production sedan record? That'd be a nay too, for two reasons, the first of which is that you can't call this a production sedan anymore. The suspension isn't factory, and the tires are road-illegal racing slicks, neither of which were true of the Jaguar XE SV Project 8 when it set its record lap at 1:37.54. More importantly, of course, 1:37.566 isn't faster than 1:37.54.
But if this is the kind of pace we can expect from a near-streetable Tesla Model 3, we can't wait to see what a full time, attack-spec Tesla can do. Bring on your best, battery-lovers.