In brief: Tesla's new Track Mode is a nifty addition for enthusiasts that like to put their cars - and driving skills - to the test on a road course. In addition to better handling, it's now possible to drift your Model 3. If you've never been drifting, let me tell you, it's loads of fun!
Tesla is rolling out an update for the Model 3 Performance that adds “Track Mode,” a new driving mode that tweaks various characteristics of the vehicle for track racing.
Tesla’s in-house Vehicle Dynamics Controller is able to cater to the driver’s intention within a matter of milliseconds and adjust torque bias between the front and rear wheels accordingly. Track Mode also increases regenerative braking which maximizes the battery’s ability to drive large amounts of power, improves the endurance of the braking system and gives the driver more authority with a single pedal.
Track Mode is accompanied by increased powertrain cooling as racing generates a lot of heat. Tesla said the mode proactively reduces battery and drive unit temperatures and continues to cool them down between driving sessions. There’s even the ability to increase the refrigerant system capacity by “overclocking the AC compressor into higher speed ranges.”
Additionally, Track Mode simulates a limited slip differential, allowing the car to apply brake and motor torque to the appropriate wheels to increase cornering ability.
(Image courtesy Motor Trend)
Motor Trend’s Randy Pobst recently logged a lap time of 1:21.49 in a Tesla Model 3 Performance with the finalized software and a set of 10mm-wider Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s and track-friendly Brembo brake pads. Six weeks earlier, the best he could muster with prototype code and standard 235/35-20 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires was a 1:23.90.
Unfortunately, the improved track time doesn’t hold much value because the second run was done with superior tires and brakes. This makes it impossible to determine the impact of the revised software on its own. Frankly, I’m surprised Motor Trend presented this apples to oranges comparison.