Tesla confirms "track mode" coming for Model 3 Performance variant


2018 Tesla Model 3

2018 Tesla Model 3

A new update is likely in store for the Tesla Model 3 Performance in the near future, and owners will have the chance to try out a new "track mode."

The news of "track mode," which isn't the final name, first came from tech-focused YouTuber Marques Brownlee, who posted an Instagram video showing the experimental track mode in action. Per the car's mode selector, the track setting tweaks the stability control and powertrain settings.

Motor Authority reached out to Tesla to comment on the forthcoming track mode, and a spokesperson confirmed the setting is still under development and provided more details about the software changes. The track mode mostly takes advantage of front and rear motor torque and slip distribution instead of the brakes. Thus, the tweaks are said to give the driver more control over the car, but not fully turn off the driver-assistance features. The setting also increases the regenerative braking power, fine-tunes the powertrain cooling for track driving, and simulates a limited-slip differential through targeted use of the brakes.

The capability comes from Tesla's in-house vehicle-dynamics controller (VDC). With its own system, Tesla is better able to integrate features with the dual-motor setup. In particular, integration of powertrain and traction control is more seamless to offer such a feature like track mode.

In the Instagram video, Brownlee is seen flogging a Model 3 Performance around a coned autocross-type track. The video also shows off that the electric car is eager to kick the rear end out for some silent, smokey drifts and powerslides around corners.

Model 3 Performance owners will have to stay patient as Tesla continues to the final touches on the system. Tesla told MA there isn't an immediate plan to make it available for customers just yet, but the hope is to roll the feature out in the coming months via an over-the-air update.

The Model 3 Performance starts at $65,000, including destination and doc fee. Another $5,000 nets the Performance Upgrade, which adds 20-inch performance wheels, performance brakes, a carbon-fiber spoiler, a lowered suspension, aluminum-alloy pedals, and an increased top speed from 145 mph to 155 mph. Tesla has given no word on if there would be a charge for the track mode, but it would likely be included either as standard or with the Performance Upgrade.

 
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