This Video Reminds Us That the Tesla Model S Is an Awful Track Car
Car and Driver’s P85D Model S could barely get through one lap at Virginia International Raceway.
Teslas are now capable of quietly accelerating to 60 mph from standstill in 2.5 seconds, but apparently the electric car manufacturer hasn't yet figured out how to make its cars go around a racetrack without them falling on their sad, grille-less faces. When attempting a hot lap with their loaner Model S, Car and Driver found multiple faults with its performance sedan.
We've seen before just how incapable Teslas are at being pushed to their limits at racetracks, but the issues that C+D lists is comprehensive. In just one lap at Virginia International Raceway, with the magazine's technical editor, K.C. Colwell, behind the wheel, the Model S P85D goes into reduced power mode in the middle of the single hot lap, displays an air suspension fault, and has a heart-stopping change of pressure in the brake pedal. Those things are not exactly ideal when you're tracking your car.
In the Tesla community, it is common knowledge that the Model S has trouble hustling around race tracks. As Teslarati notes, the electric sedans have a tendency to overheat in one lap or less at most courses. One of the most popular examples of a Model S failing on-track surfaced two years ago, when racer Robb Holland took to the Nürburgring Nordscheleife in one of the electric sedans and was unsurprisingly unable to get around the full 12.9 miles of mountainous German road-hell using the car's full-power.
So, the Model S is not a Chevrolet Corvette Z06. But, to be fair, all current EVs are by nature pretty much terrible for extended track use—and that includes top-of-the-game Formula E race cars. At this stage of battery development, pushing an EV to racetrack levels of performance is simply too big a drain on range, to say nothing of the myriad other problems it can cause. So while you can't really fault the carmaker for the P85D's less-than-stellar performance, you do now know a way to shut up a smug Tesla owner: invite him to the track. One lap is all it should take.