2018 Tesla Model 3
Tesla is developing a new track mode for performance versions of the Model 3.
YouTube reviewer Marques Brownlee posted a video on Instagram showing a development version of the “track mode” in action.
Green Car Reports reached out to Tesla for comment, and the company confirmed in a statement that it is developing the track mode to allow more aggressive track driving without disabling electronic stability control altogether. “Track Mode” won’t be the final name, however—because it’s a Tesla, after all.
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Quite a few performance cars now offer track modes that allow the driver to intentionally overpower the rear tires or induce lateral slip before safety systems such as electronic stability control eventually intervene to keep them from sliding off the track.
A Tesla spokeswoman said the Model 3 Performance uses a new, in-house “vehicle dynamics controller,” a computer brain that controls braking and power at the wheels, and sometimes can control steering.
She said that developing its own vehicle dynamics controller has allowed Tesla to develop a more flexible stability control system for the dual-motor, all-wheel drive Model 3 that relies more on altering power to the front and rear motors individually than on applying brakes at different wheels to control skids. Dialing back power is also more efficient than brake-based systems. Tesla says that allows engineers to open up the parameters of the system to enable more spirited driving—that is, more slip, with later intervention by electronic safety systems.
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Tesla says the “track mode” will also use stronger regenerative braking so the car will rely less on the friction brakes for better cooling and braking.
It also cools the powertrain more aggressively for track use, where drivers are likely to generate more heat.
The Tesla spokeswoman said that “track mode” is still under development, and that the company has no immediate plan to release it, but that it hopes to make the feature available as part of an unspecified software update in the coming months.