Under the Hood: Tesla Model 3 Autocrosser

https://www.youtube.com/embed/jzNbE3edVy0

Dean Rhodes was tired of the negativity towards Tesla and other electric cars, so he decided to do something about it. He bought a 2018 Tesla Model 3 Performance and started autocrossing it.

 

TVR Scott
TVR Scott HalfDork
5/16/19 6:50 a.m.

Love it!

Super cool discussion and great footage.  I've got a friend who just got a Model 3 and adores it.  I've not driven it yet, but he says it's  a ton of fun.

I did drive another friend's Model S a little bit and that was a terrific car.

fanfoy
fanfoy Dork
5/16/19 8:57 a.m.

We just had two model 3's show up at our first event and they did surprisingly well in the hands of inexperienced drivers.

It's weird seeing a car run with only the sound of the tires.

NermalSnert
NermalSnert Reader
5/16/19 9:04 a.m.

That IS an impressive car. What's next? It picks us up at the front of the motel, takes us to the track, and we watch it autocross? "We just had two model 3's show up at our first event and they did surprisingly well in the hands of inexperienced drivers."

Kreb
Kreb UberDork
5/16/19 9:12 a.m.

Car and driver did performance tests versus the BMW M3 and not only was the Tesla faster in a straight line, but faster on the track as well. Mind you that was for a single lap. I doubt that the Tesla's cooling is adequate to sustain a full lapping session. 

Kreb
Kreb UberDork
5/16/19 9:14 a.m.
NermalSnert said:

That IS an impressive car. What's next? It picks us up at the front of the motel, takes us to the track, and we watch it autocross? "We just had two model 3's show up at our first event and they did surprisingly well in the hands of inexperienced drivers."

My head kinda hurts thinking about that one. I robot here we come.  

Duke
Duke MegaDork
5/16/19 10:01 a.m.

Had one show up at our first autocross of the season - Model 3 Performance pack.

It drove like it was on the heavy side, but dear Bob, could that thing dig out of the slow spots.  Astounding acceleration for a daily driver sedan.

spacecadet
spacecadet HalfDork
5/16/19 10:04 a.m.

https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/tesla-model-3-model-s-one-lap-of-america-toughest-street-car-race/

They're taking off and the supercharger network is robust enough for even the craziest of events with minimal inconvenience compared to the ICE vehicles.

Only 150 extra miles across the week to get to superchargers... 

bcp2011
bcp2011 Reader
5/16/19 10:27 a.m.

In reply to sleepyhead the buffalo :

Given the length of the track and the long straights that's pretty impressive.  

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
5/16/19 10:32 a.m.

Looks like it would be quicker with harder suspension.

sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo Mod Squad
5/16/19 10:38 a.m.
spacecadet said:

https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/tesla-model-3-model-s-one-lap-of-america-toughest-street-car-race/

They're taking off and the supercharger network is robust enough for even the craziest of events with minimal inconvenience compared to the ICE vehicles.

Only 150 extra miles across the week to get to superchargers... 

It's not impossible, We just haven't figured out how to do it yet.

It should be noted the Model 3 had enough cooling for three laps flat out at Road America, plus a sighting lap at unknown pace.  The P100D slowed noticeably on its third lap there.

sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo Mod Squad
5/16/19 10:41 a.m.
bcp2011 said:

In reply to sleepyhead the buffalo :

Given the length of the track and the long straights that's pretty impressive.  

Yeah.  It was interesting because the Model 3 was driven very differently there, going to Regen with a quarter of the front straight to go.

The Model 3 was also 7th overall for the raining wet morning session at Hastings, which chuffed the guy that wrote the wet traction code, and won the luxury class and was there to watch it.

spacecadet
spacecadet HalfDork
5/16/19 11:15 a.m.

In reply to sleepyhead the buffalo :

Article also says they had brake problems at RA which contributed to the long regen requirements 

_
_ Reader
5/16/19 2:24 p.m.

Have you guys seen the video of the model 3 playing in the snow? Turn on sport mode, and it  actually regulates your slip angle on ice... tickle the **** outta me, Elmo!

thatsnowinnebago
thatsnowinnebago SuperDork
5/16/19 3:32 p.m.

There's a couple that show up to the autocross here. Like fanfoy said, its wild watching them just fly by with just the sound of the wind and the tires. Really keeps you on your toes when shagging cones! They're darn quick out there too. 

Robbie
Robbie UltimaDork
5/16/19 9:39 p.m.

Well I got an email last week for an "affordable" lease offer on a model 3.

But I do think they are cool as heck.

I would love to autox one.

jstein77
jstein77 UltraDork
5/17/19 7:39 a.m.

I'm going to keep my FoRS as long as I possibly can, but this is in the running to replace it.

 

Looks like Dean's co-driver Tom got a 4th place trophy against a bunch of fast Camaro's and BMW's.  I know first-hand that Terry Tabor is a great driver, so to be able to best him is quite the feat.

poopshovel again
poopshovel again MegaDork
5/17/19 8:05 a.m.

In reply to jstein77 :

Funny, as I didn’t realize till reading this thread that you could grab one of these for around the same price as a FoRS.

Also, I just saw my first one in the wild like 10 minutes ago.

I’m currently driving 80 miles a day, and spending $100/week on gas, so this could totally make sense.

That said, I’m hoping my commute will drop to zero miles/day in the next year. Decisions decisions. It’d be great if I could lease one, but the mileage would be a killer.

rothwem
rothwem New Reader
5/17/19 8:18 a.m.

That was pretty cool to watch, it looked really damn quick.  I've often thought that if I were to get a Model 3, I'd go with the regular RWD model, but it seems like a lot of the "magic" in the Tesla is the torque vectoring they can do between axles.  Maybe I'll have to reconsider my daydreaming laugh

With that said, he says that he made the video to counter negativity about Teslas, I'm not sure he's really going to do a whole lot in that regard.  I KNOW the cars are badass, most of my negative thoughts about Teslas come more from the CEO/company and the annoying internet fan-base than the vehicles themselves.  Tesla has had only three profitable quarters in 10 years with Tesla and its a pretty well-known fact in the automotive engineering world that they vastly underpay their engineering talent and then try to made it up with equity. That equity however, is constantly being diluted by selling more shares to raise money because they can't actually turn a profit.  How is that, in any way, sustainable?  If I buy one of these, is Tesla going to be around in 10 years to support me with maintenance parts?

I can't imagine how Porsche and BMW aren't going to stomp Tesla's face into the ground when they introduce a product with modern OEM build quality AND modern battery tech AND intelligent R&D to continuously improve the product.  

spacecadet
spacecadet HalfDork
5/17/19 10:00 a.m.

 

They're very fast in prosolo formats where their low speed dig is put to maximum use. 

These are the Fontana Prosolo Results 

https://www.scca.com/events/1992937-2019-tire-rack-fontana-prosolo

 

Robbie
Robbie UltimaDork
5/17/19 10:06 a.m.

In reply to rothwem :

Amazon is also famous for having 0 or less cumulative profit for the first 10 years.

Then after 20 years they made 1.5 billion in a single quarter. Probably was worth the wait.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
5/17/19 1:28 p.m.

By the way, thanks to whoever pitched this to jalopnik. They ran a piece on it last night and views spiked. More eyes = more reason and support for us to produce cool content. So, yeah, thanks.

 

spacecadet
spacecadet HalfDork
6/23/19 7:14 p.m.

I rode shotgun today with my buddy David Whitener in his Model 3 Performance today. 

Holy. berkeleying.  E36 M3.  

First time he's ever autocross the car after taking delivery this past Monday. He took it to MSR Cresson on Thursday to turn laps as well. 

I'm waiting for official results for where he placed in Pax... but he was not far off pace and he was on PS4S. Which are a good tire... but 1-1.5 seconds off pace at least on a 45-60 course. 

Thats Jeremy Foley Grided behind him in the 1M.... Last year's national BS champion. He and David were within striking distance of Foley's fastest times in the 1M.. even on the slower tires... Jeremy drove the Tesla as wel and got out shaking his head... and remember this is their first time driving this car ever...

I have ridden in fast cars with very fast drivers over the past 4 and a half years. the Tesla accelerates like nothing I've ever experienced.... It makes the STH audi TT look like a automatic Camry... 

The on throttle dynamics are unbelievable, it rotates and then digs coming out of corners... 

David also says it does 30-80 faster than his wife's C7-Zo6. 

 

 

 

 

kevinatfms
kevinatfms Reader
6/24/19 7:56 a.m.
spacecadet said:

I rode shotgun today with my buddy David Whitener in his Model 3 Performance today. 

Holy. berkeleying.  E36 M3.  

First time he's ever autocross the car after taking delivery this past Monday. He took it to MSR Cresson on Thursday to turn laps as well. 

I'm waiting for official results for where he placed in Pax... but he was not far off pace and he was on PS4S. Which are a good tire... but 1-1.5 seconds off pace at least on a 45-60 course. 

Thats Jeremy Foley Grided behind him in the 1M.... Last year's national BS champion. He and David were within striking distance of Foley's fastest times in the 1M.. even on the slower tires... Jeremy drove the Tesla as wel and got out shaking his head... and remember this is their first time driving this car ever...

I have ridden in fast cars with very fast drivers over the past 4 and a half years. the Tesla accelerates like nothing I've ever experienced.... It makes the STH audi TT look like a automatic Camry... 

The on throttle dynamics are unbelievable, it rotates and then digs coming out of corners... 

David also says it does 30-80 faster than his wife's C7-Zo6. 

 

 

 

 

There is a video out there of a 700+hp Trackhawk losing to a Tesla(dont know what the SUV model name is) from a dig. It has 100hp less but the electric motor just scoots away and by the time the Trackhawk started catching up it was at the 1/4 or so. It was shockingly quick.

There is a local guy who autocrosses a model 3 on RE71's and its posted a raw time within a tenth of FTD at almost every event. Nothing more than a set of wheels/tires on it and its basically FTD. Insane.

spacecadet
spacecadet HalfDork
6/24/19 9:06 a.m.

In reply to kevinatfms :

The dynamics of how it pulls out of corners is phenomenal.. 

Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
6/24/19 10:13 a.m.

We have had a couple of them show up for autocrosses. Not super fast, but not slow either. With some tuning and a decent set of tires it would be a hoot. 

 

spacecadet
spacecadet HalfDork
6/24/19 10:27 a.m.

In reply to Toyman01 :

I will say those cars are being let down by drivers or are the lesser trims. I was hugely impressed by the performance of the Model 3 Performance and it will take a unique style to drive, but the suspension geometry is solid and they can fit a 275 tire on the stock rims and under the stock fenders.... Whitener stated that the front suspension is identical to an EG Civic. 

 

 

Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
6/24/19 11:06 a.m.

In reply to spacecadet :

The ones I've seen were as delivered. Crappy tires and all. They don't have the grip with OEM tires and would push out on the corners. No clue about the drivers themselves.

spacecadet
spacecadet HalfDork
6/24/19 11:07 a.m.

In reply to Toyman01 :

Fair, I forgot the base cars aren't delivering on PS4S like the performance does.. 

Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
6/24/19 12:33 p.m.

In reply to spacecadet :

A set of 275 RE71s would make me want to try my hand at driving it. 

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
6/24/19 2:08 p.m.
spacecadet said:

In reply to Toyman01 :

Fair, I forgot the base cars aren't delivering on PS4S like the performance does.. 

Just drove my MIL’s Model 3 Performance for the first time and was surprised to see the big brake kit and such sticky tires. What a huge departure from every other EV out there.

jstein77
jstein77 UltraDork
6/24/19 2:17 p.m.
nderwater said:
spacecadet said:

In reply to Toyman01 :

Fair, I forgot the base cars aren't delivering on PS4S like the performance does.. 

Just drove my MIL’s Model 3 Performance for the first time and was surprised to see the big brake kit and such sticky tires. What a huge departure from every other EV out there.

Every other?

Robbie
Robbie UltimaDork
6/24/19 2:47 p.m.

This isnt making me want a Tesla any less. 

spacecadet
spacecadet HalfDork
6/24/19 3:34 p.m.

In reply to Robbie :

It's certainly not supposed to. 

Kreb
Kreb UberDork
6/24/19 5:40 p.m.

I flogged a performance model Tesla 3 and while the acceleration is pretty mind boggling, and the handling is OK if you drive it right, I couldn't quite get around the fact that it was still a 4200 lb. car. My take was that while it would be capable of excellent autocross times, it would not be the most enjoyable way of posting those times. 

einy
einy HalfDork
6/24/19 7:15 p.m.

Any idea what availability / wait time is for a 3 these days, particularly with the Performance Pack on it?

cdeforrest
cdeforrest New Reader
6/24/19 8:25 p.m.

In reply to einy :

I hit the configuator the other day for a base model (40k..not 35 anymore ) and it said 2 weeks (just like my bldg contractor)

spacecadet
spacecadet HalfDork
6/24/19 8:51 p.m.

In reply to cdeforrest :

the base model $35k car is only available by calling or visiting a showroom. they will not sell you one online. it was the software limited standard range model. 

the new base online is the standard range Plus model. 

spacecadet
spacecadet HalfDork
6/24/19 9:07 p.m.

In reply to einy :

you can probably buy one that's in stock. i was looking and there was 5 at the showrooms here in DFW available for immediate purchase. and that was just the performance trim level, there was more of the lower trim levels. 

poopshovel again
poopshovel again MegaDork
6/25/19 6:52 a.m.

Somebody probably needs this, and unfortunately, I don’t think it’s me :/

Kreb
Kreb UberDork
6/25/19 9:56 a.m.

How about this?:  https://www.wired.com/story/simone-giertz-tesla-pickup-model-3-truckla/

I did my test drive at the factory a week ago. There were hundreds of 3s awaiting shipment.

spacecadet
spacecadet HalfDork
6/25/19 10:26 a.m.
Kreb said:

I flogged a performance model Tesla 3 and while the acceleration is pretty mind boggling, and the handling is OK if you drive it right, I couldn't quite get around the fact that it was still a 4200 lb. car. My take was that while it would be capable of excellent autocross times, it would not be the most enjoyable way of posting those times. 

I would fully fall on the other side of the fence, It was a hoot for me. They're heavy but David said his is a shade under 4000. either way, the dynamics on power are phenomenal with the way the computer sends power to the front and rear. I firmly am ready to see what comes next in EV's and how it affects track fun and autox. 

bcp2011
bcp2011 Reader
6/25/19 10:38 a.m.
poopshovel again said:

Somebody probably needs this, and unfortunately, I don’t think it’s me :/

Uh... this dude or dudette needs a new son, and I know someone who'd be the right person for the job.  

 

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
6/25/19 10:47 a.m.

In reply to bcp2011 :

Seriously, who buys a new Tesla for their daughter ..

bcp2011
bcp2011 Reader
6/25/19 10:50 a.m.

In reply to dculberson :

And what type of daugter will refuse such a car?!?!  

"Daddy... everyone at school has a G wagon, and I need it b/c I don't want to be stranded on the side of a highway with no access to a charging station..."

Sorry for the OT.. back to normal programming.  cheeky

jstein77
jstein77 UltraDork
6/25/19 12:43 p.m.
cdeforrest said:

In reply to einy :

I hit the configuator the other day for a base model (40k..not 35 anymore ) and it said 2 weeks (just like my bldg contractor)

 

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
6/25/19 1:45 p.m.
trucke
trucke SuperDork
6/25/19 1:50 p.m.

We have a couple of guys autocrossing a Tesla 3 Performance locally.  It's quick!

Kreb
Kreb UberDork
6/26/19 11:19 a.m.
spacecadet said:
Kreb said:

I flogged a performance model Tesla 3 and while the acceleration is pretty mind boggling, and the handling is OK if you drive it right, I couldn't quite get around the fact that it was still a 4200 lb. car. My take was that while it would be capable of excellent autocross times, it would not be the most enjoyable way of posting those times. 

I would fully fall on the other side of the fence, It was a hoot for me. They're heavy but David said his is a shade under 4000. either way, the dynamics on power are phenomenal with the way the computer sends power to the front and rear. I firmly am ready to see what comes next in EV's and how it affects track fun and autox. 

I'm not in the anti-EV camp at all. Seriously considering one for my wife's next car. But the Tesla salesman let us take the car to a deserted industrial park where we set up a very simple course: A roughly 1/8 mile straightaway with roundabouts on either end. The acceleration, as I said, was phenomenal - like they'd taken the peak power moment of the fastest car that I've ever driven and made it available continuously - from 0 RPM up. But after two or three hard applications of the brakes they were smoking. As for the cornering, if you just turned into the corner in a neutral condition the Michelin Pilot HP tires would howl terribly and the thing would plow. If you powered through the turn it would set up a nice neutral balance, but as someone who does his enthusiast driving in sub-2000 lb cars, the weight was impossible to conceal and not my cup of tea.

That said, it's clearly the future. I'm excited to see the development as well, although slightly disconcerted.  

  

bcp2011
bcp2011 Reader
6/26/19 2:33 p.m.

In reply to Kreb :

As someone with a low weight car I get where you're coming from completely.  But the issues you've noted seem like easy fixes.  I'm also considering replacing the wife's car with a 3 or a Y in the next couple of years, and if we end up with the 3 I'd be curious to take it to the track just once to see how it performs at the limit.  q

 

sobe_death
sobe_death Dork
6/26/19 3:11 p.m.

In reply to Kreb :

Brake pads and tires, just like any other car you would autocross. 

I've actually been wondering about that treatment with a Chevy Bolt...

spacecadet
spacecadet HalfDork
6/26/19 3:27 p.m.
sobe_death said:

In reply to Kreb :

Brake pads and tires, just like any other car you would autocross. 

I've actually been wondering about that treatment with a Chevy Bolt...

yep, and a knowledge of charging infrastructure at/near your local track. 

Kreb
Kreb UberDork
6/26/19 5:59 p.m.
spacecadet said:
sobe_death said:

In reply to Kreb :

Brake pads and tires, just like any other car you would autocross. 

I've actually been wondering about that treatment with a Chevy Bolt...

yep, and a knowledge of charging infrastructure at/near your local track. 

Given that you're only getting about 3 laps on a track before it starts to overheat, you may never need to recharge. 

Look, it performs wonderfully for what it is. It's just not the right tool for everyone. 

edit: I'm talking about open track. I don't think that overheating would be an issue at an autocross.

spacecadet
spacecadet Dork
7/4/19 2:26 p.m.
Kreb said:
spacecadet said:
sobe_death said:

In reply to Kreb :

Brake pads and tires, just like any other car you would autocross. 

I've actually been wondering about that treatment with a Chevy Bolt...

yep, and a knowledge of charging infrastructure at/near your local track. 

Given that you're only getting about 3 laps on a track before it starts to overheat, you may never need to recharge. 

Look, it performs wonderfully for what it is. It's just not the right tool for everyone. 

edit: I'm talking about open track. I don't think that overheating would be an issue at an autocross.

Had the chance to put real metal to testing this today. Went to MSRC with David and Kim Whitener today. 

The Tesla Was on Nexen SUR4G tires and Kim brought her C7 Z06 2015. 

I went out with david in the Tesla First. 

Running the 1.7 at MSRC the best lap with both of us in the car was in the 1:25 range. 

Best Time in the corvette on the same course is a 1:21. 

Their TT6 miata runs a 1:22-23. 

We ran the Tesla for 15 minutes and then swapped cars with kim to get into the Z06. Best lap in the Z06 was in the 1:23's 

it's a first year Z06 so it does get hot and it showed. 

The Tesla's only limitation was the battery. we did 9-10 laps in the tesla before swapping and by the end of the 7th lap the car wasn't pulling as hard anymore. 

we started the session at 75% charge. the car came off track under 30% after a full 30 minute session. 

It needed a bit of cool down driving after the session and the brakes need more development. David was talking to me during the session about a delay in the braking it wasn't biting hard when he first went for the pedal. 
the 2 cars are very close in time and the tesla best lap was not David's best. he knows he left more time out there. 

the car needs more camber and more development on the brakes. But as i said before the dynamics are awesome. it rotates extremely well under braking and it rotates a bit under throttle and digs even at speeds closer to 100mph. 

So you'd need a superchaging setup near the track to make it a truly track day capable car. But that's not impossible now or in the near future. 

I was extremely impressed and I'd pick the Model 3 over the Z06 every day... partially cause i hit my head on the roof in the Z06! it is too low for my big dome to get out easily while wearing a helmet. 

David knows how to drive cars, build shocks for double wishbone cars and test tires. 
 

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