OK, this is the detailed version of my autocross (ax) with the Porsche club today.
I have been teaching and ax-ing with the Porsche club for about 25 years, but for the last 5 years I have mostly been doing big track events, so I am a bit rusty at ax.
I showed up with a Tesla, so I definitely was the center of attention, not the three 2018 GT3 RS's, nor the other GT3's and GT4's. To start, I lowered the tire pressure from 45 to 39 cold to be closer, knowing they would need to be lowered more later. As I was doing this, one guy asked it he could get a ride, I said sure (As an instructor, I can take people for rides to help teach?) Before I got the start, another lady asked if she could catch a ride in back. Sure, this is just for fun, what is a few hundred pounds in passengers! Never had a back seat to fill at the track.
My biggest concern for the day was the nannies or stability control system. I don't have the track mode yet and my Model S P85 was not great on the track as the traction control just wanted to keep things under control and it was also just too big. So the three of us went out for a first practice lap, I got a 1:10, but didn't know how that compared. This is about a 1-1.5 miles track with speeds in the 40-70+ mph range. After watching a bunch of cars, they all seemed to be around 1:14 except a GT4 on nice tires did a 1:05.9. After a couple more laps, I was down to 1:08, but the tires were reading nearly 50 psi, so I decided that was enough for the session.
As I parked, a worker came up and said I should check my brakes as they were smoking on the track. This is a good warning for others going to track their car, especially the P3+ has good brakes, but you don't use them on the street so they had never been heated up before and were burning off coatings and bedding. I didn't noticed any excessive wear, no fade or soft pedal, but they were definitely being used heavily to slow a 4000 lbs car on this track.
As the day progressed, I noticed the 1:08 wasn't bad, but I needed to do better. Also, this car drives very different from all the Porsches I have driven over the years. There were people standing at the start to just watch and video the launch around the first corner. It just blew the GT3 RS's away off the live. Since the start wasn't perfectly level, launch control wouldn't work in the GT3, so it wasn't even close.
For my second practice session, again I was asked for rides from several people and every time I came to grid for the next lap, someone would be there with their thumb up for a ride. By my second session, I was able to start to get the feel of the car and dropped my time to 1:06.xx. Now I am actually getting in the range of the best of the best. Wow.
OK, now that I am really pushing, I can experience the traction/stability control and WOW. This totally blew me away. Porsche has a really really good system, light years ahead of BMW etc when really pushed, but the Tesla is better. There is absolutely NO REASON any non-pro or near pro would need track mode. The traction control allowed amazing slip angles, power delivery and times that were close to the best Porsche has to offer. The main reason I want track mode now is to help cool things down. I think I can go faster with track mode allowing more oversteer, which will result in less understeer, but that is really just fine tuning the car, not an issue like with most cars. Very impressive as is. I think the difference is this system can get instant power from the motors, or instantly cut the power and just react faster than the Porsche system which primarily uses just ABS for quick corrections or has to kill the power, but that takes a lot of time. I have never driven a Porsche 918, but I bet its amazing handling is due to its battery power controlling the stability as well. There were a couple times I overcooked a corner and accepted hitting cones, yet every time the car did something and kept me going, not quickly, but on track and going. The smoothness of the intervention was so good, it was almost imperceptible. You just needed to know what the car should do and didn't quite do at times.
For timed runs I tried to push more, and got a lower 1:06, but never put together what I felt was a really good lap. One place or another I kept making a mistake. With perfection, I probably could have gotten top time, but with perfection, the Porsches could have gone faster as well. I got 5th overall, with 4th being a 2018 GT3RS with an experienced driver running 335 hoosier tires, competition alignment, and really is about the best Porsche has to offer at over $200k. 3rd place was a GT4 with really good race tires and ???? Both less than a second ahead.
So, what does the car need? Clearly, to compete with the GT3, I needed bigger and better tires. The Michelin 4S performed well, but are no match to a real track tire. I think Elon said this car was designed for 275 rear and 255 front tires. I think to be serious at the track, those sizes with better rubber are needed. With those tires and track mode, I have little doubt I could have easily gotten top time at a pretty competitive event. The stock Boxsters and Caymans were not even in the hunt. It was the built cars with tires and setups that were close to the totally stock P3.
I did get a couple of reliability scares, the expected low tire pressure warning at the start of sessions wasn't bad, but at one point I got a red exclamation point, clicking showed the issue was low wiper fluid. So, basically, it ran perfect. Never any low power warnings. I do think the brakes were nearing their peak temps, but worked fine. I am a bit nervous about them.
It isn't perfect as physics does still show 4000lbs isn't optimal for a track car, but the advantages of EV and instant power are more of an advantage than the weight penalty.
Here are the results to see the spread of times:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/gNVpJ5ELbNS88gsP7 full results and car types can be found at http://ax.pcasdr.org/
I don't officially get the 5th top time as the Tesla is classified as an X car and not eligible, but the times are the times. I will try to add a link to the Track Addict video when it is uploaded to youtube. I did spend a lot of time talking EV's, so I bet I sold a couple. The jokes about the battery running out ended pretty quickly and I ended the day with about 50% battery. I did notice my usage was at 1875 Wh/m on the track :)
Here is a video of the run, sorry about the quality, apparently Track Addict overrides video stabilization on the camera: https://youtu.be/fdSNxDR_HxY
Let me know if you have any questions I can answer.