You might remember awhile back, Motor Trend brought its in-house hot-shoe Randy Pobst to the Streets of Willow to test the Tesla Model 3, Jaguar I-Pace and, for good measure, Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. The Alfa was the fastest car there that day and Pobst had some niggles with the Tesla, its Track Mode and choice of tire. Apparently, Tesla wasn’t very happy with the results (you know Elon Musk had a full-blown meltdown that day). So Tesla decided to rent out Willow Springs for the day, invite Randy Pobst and Motor Trend back down, and test out some newly developed Track Mode software, as well as new tires and brakes.
Essentially, Tesla’s engineers wanted Pobst’s feedback and racing driver-opinion. They wanted to make the Model 3 Performance, with its Track Mode, even better on track. So they had him test a car identical to the one he had tested before, to get a feel for the way it was and his opinion on what needed changing. Then, they put him in a car with updated Track Mode software. Then, they put him in a different car, with the new software, Michelin Cup 2 tires and Brembo brakes.
The results? Much improved. He ran a 1:21.49 seconds. That’s 1.29 seconds faster than the Alfa was, which was running on Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires, about as grippy as Cup 2s. So the changes made are vast and greatly improve the performance of the car. To be honest, most of it was likely due the tires, as Cup 2s can improve literally any sports car running any other tire. However, it’s still interesting to see some engineers with laptops able to change handling, braking and acceleration characteristics on the fly like that. More good news for Model 3 Performance owners, that new software is out today, November 8 2018.
If the Model 3 Performance is now faster than the Alfa on the Streets of Willow, then it’s faster than the BMW M3. It would be interesting to see what a BMW M3 CS could do on track, as that’s the best M3 on the market, but the Model 3 is definitely going to be quicker than the normal car.
Though, in fairness, the current M3 is at the very end of its life cycle and a new one is in the works. So it will be very interesting to see what will happen with that. Still, credit where credit’s due, the Tesla Model 3 Performance is the fastest sport sedan in its class to ever lap the Streets of Willow. What’s even more impressive is Tesla’s willingness to seek the help of a racing driver. that made all the difference in the world. Now if Tesla would just seek the advice of some proper exterior designers, we’d be in business.