A Lot of Bad Decisions Led to This Stripped Tesla Model S Crash

If you’re gonna track a 1,000 horsepower car, get some proper safety gear.

byNico DeMattia|
Electric Vehicles photo

It was only a few days ago when we talked about the importance of safety gear on track. Almost immediately after that, the owner of a heavily modified Tesla Model S Plaid almost died on track because wasn't he wearing a helmet or using any safety gear of any kind.

Chet, from the Chillin' with Chet YouTube channel, owned a Tesla Model S Plaid that he modified for track use. He gutted most of the interior, save for the passenger seat, and even removed the rear hatch, all in the name of saving weight. It's the same Tesla that he decided to drive underwater, to see if an electric car could do such a thing, which damaged the car's electric drive units. However, after replacing those units and continuing to track the car, he noticed that its brakes just couldn't keep up, something many owners and journalists have noticed about the stock Model S Plaid. So he decided to upgrade the front calipers, rotors, and pads with new ones from Unplugged Performance.

The upgraded brakes should have worked far better than the car's stock brakes, thanks to much bigger calipers, carbon ceramic rotors, and track compound pads. However, he didn't upgrade the rear brakes, instead he just replaced them with new stock parts, and seemingly didn't upgrade the brake fluid. He bled the fluid when doing the brake job but didn't say anything about upgrading the fluid. When you're driving a 1,000 horsepower, nearly 5,000-pound car on track regularly, you should probably use racing brake fluid.

Chillin' with Chet

After only a few minutes on track with his newly upgraded brakes, those very same brakes went soft on him while charging hard into a corner, sending him into the tire barrier. Before his brakes failed in the corner, Chet said he was doing 170 mph. At the end of the video, Chet said he's going to explain what happened in a video to come but there's a good chance the stock brake fluid is the culprit.

Thankfully, Chet survived the crash but not before sustaining some pretty painful injuries: five broken ribs, a fractured knee, and a torn ACL. Considering the circumstances, those injuries could have been much worse. As much as I don't want to kick someone while they're down, it must be said that he would have been in far better shape had he used some actual safety equipment. If you're going to strip a 1,000-pound car out specifically for track-duty, put in a cage and some racing seats with proper harnesses. Also, wear a damn helmet. He's lucky he's alive.