Love them or hate them, Electric Vehicles (EVs) are here, so why not hammer the s%&t out of them on a race track just like we've been doing the old internal combustion engine (ICE) for years and years!
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Battery degradation & performance, $600 'Bonus Module' for 2 seconds a lap improvement, trackside sharing and more with Jordan Priestley of ReVolting Performance as he runs us through this 2021 Model 3 Performance Tesla while competing at the Optima Batteries street car challenge.
The car runs a number of Unplugged Performance suspension components and 4 point roll bar with JRi double adjustable shocks, AP Racing brake package & square (same size front to rear) 19x11 Forgeline wheels wrapped in 305/30R19 Falkens.
Interestingly the battery level does operate within certain 'sweet spots' in relation to charge, with Jordan noting a 40mph loss of speed climbing up the hill at Laguna Seca at lesser charges. He also touches on his trackside generator charging setup, a common question from those interested in how EV guys manage battery charge during track/race days.
There is a long way to go with EVs to get them anywhere close to being the same when it comes to how a race weekend looks compared to someone just tipping E85 or similar in the tank, but racing is racing, and it's great to see some earlier adopters keen for some new challenges.
Electric vehicles are becoming more and more prominent in a motorsport application and there are a few considerations in order to get the best out of your EV if you are taking it to the racetrack. We're here with Jordan owner and driver of this Model 3 Tesla behind me, to find out a little bit more about it. Welcome to High Performance Academies' tuned in field report podcast series. In these special midweek episodes, we look back through our archives to find the best conversations we've had through years worth of attending the best automotive events across the globe. We've pulled the audio from these tech filled interviews with some of the industry's most well known figures and presented it in podcast format for you to enjoy as a quick hit of insider knowledge. Jordan, before we get into the intricacies of managing a Tesla Model 3 for a track day, let's talk about the actual modifications you've made to it. What have you done.Speaker 2:
We've done fully adjustable unplugged billet control arms. We've done spherical control arm bearing so there's no more rubber in the suspension at all. We've taken away all the deflection done. A double adjustable coil over package that we're currently developing now adjustable sway bar. So we basically added rigidity and added a bunch of adjustment to the vehicle to get it to do what we want it to do. For the braking, we've done the APS6 big brake kit. Front and rear, done a lot of development to get the rear the park, you know the e-brake component put back into this system. Wheels and tires we've got a 19x11 on this car so we've got a lot of tire underneath and a lot of wheel. We're running a 30530R19 Falcon RT660 tire. Is this a squeecy outside? Front and rear the same, correct? Yeah, we're running a square setup on the car and you can go stagger square, you know, and adjust your balance with the shocks and with the sway bars and things like that. But we chose to run a square setup and get as much tire underneath the car as we can get underneath it.Speaker 1:
I assume a big part of the adjustability you've added into the suspension with those arms you're talking about in terms of getting the alignment specs where you want them. I assume, like a lot of late model factory cars, little to no adjustability in the factory Tesla components.Speaker 2:
The Tesla's even more so. That way, there's basically no adjustment. You've got tow and that's it. So we're able to get anywhere from you know two degrees of negative camber all the way to over five degrees if we wanted it. We end up right around. We're going to have degrees in the front and about three degrees in the rear with this setup.Speaker 1:
Okay, let's talk a little bit about the electronics side of things. In terms of getting a Tesla to perform at the race track, I mean, unlike an internal combustion engine, we don't fit an aftermarket ECU and sort of play with the power settings. That's not really something we do in any EV world, but there are some aspects that do need some consideration around the stability control.Speaker 2:
Correct. Yeah, we've got what they call a bonus module and we're actually able to go in and defeat the stability track in the car, which allows it to be much more predictable and usable on the track. From the Tesla track mode to the bonus module, we're picking up about two seconds of lap with that system, so it really is a huge improvement for around $600.Speaker 1:
I assume that the factory stability control is just overbearing and essentially any time the car starts to move around a little bit it's trying to essentially hold any of that.Speaker 2:
Yeah, what the Tesla's do is they utilize the rear brake to try to keep the car stable, and what actually ends up happening is they apply rear brake and it wants to make the car spin out, so it creates a lot of oversteer, but it's unpredictable. So by defeating it and turning it off, we're able to drive the car and actually tune and adjust based on the mechanics of it, versus it trying to think that it's doing the right thing.Speaker 1:
Now you mentioned that the track mode which does retain the Stabilitrack. Is there any applications where you find that that is a preferred mode to run in, as opposed to the defeat?Speaker 2:
For the autocross and the speed stop segments of this series we do run the Tesla track mode. I mean that mode actually has adjustability. We can start from zero with the Stabilitrack and we can go negative 10 and we can go positive 10 so we can actually tune the way the car behaves to an extent. And then we can also adjust the front and rear bias for the all wheel drive so you can go 40% front, 60% rear to get the car to rotate or behave the way you want it to. I mean it's actually a very good system for the slow speed stuff. But on the high speed stuff it's where the bonus module comes in.Speaker 1:
Do you want to take your car knowledge game to the next level? Join us in the next free lesson at hpacademycom. Slash free and start developing your own skills today. Alright, let's talk about how you manage this car at a track day. We were talking off camera before and you mentioned you essentially have the ability to do one full pace lap and then essentially that's it. You're calling it, so you only got one shot at this. You obviously need to make it count, but that's up to the driver. What is it about the setup that you're limiting yourself to one lap?Speaker 2:
Well, the state of charge. So I'm trying to start at 90 to 95% state of charge and I really don't want to end the session below 70%, because then in the hour that I have between sessions I don't have enough time to get back to the state of charge that I want to be at for optimal performance. I mean what we've found between the electronics, the battery and the tire. One lap is pretty much optimal because after that we can equal the lap on the second lap or get within a tenth or so, but your battery degradation drops significantly and then we're not able to get back into that optimal range for the next session. So you really just have to get out there and get it done in one lap.Speaker 1:
So for those of us who may be on into the EV world and don't understand this, essentially what I'm picking up from you here is if you want maximum performance from the batteries and therefore maximum power from the electric motors, you really want to have that charge up at 95%. Charge drops down, you're going to end up with essentially less power to put to the track. Is that sort of the first element of it?Speaker 2:
That's correct and we find 55% 50% that it starts to pull power back and you start to go substantially slower. The other side of that is the battery packs get hot and the differentials get hot. You know, at Laguna Seca, up the hill from 5 to 6, I lost 40 mile an hour from lap 1 to lap 2 going up that hill just because of battery degradation and heat and all that.Speaker 1:
So Okay, so in the other element that goes hand in hand with that, as you're saying, if you're done 2 or more laps, the battery state of charge gets so low that you're not going to have enough time between your sessions to get it charged back up. That's correct In terms of charging, obviously, the charging station is just about everywhere. Being a little bit more portable to take to the track, that can be a little bit trickier. How are you managing that?Speaker 2:
So we've got two 9500 watt generators and we run them in parallel. So we're effectively, you know, up around 19,000 watts or, I'm sorry, 17,000 watts, somewhere in that range. Our charging wattage is around 11,000, 12,000. So our 1200, I'm sorry I'm getting a little bit, I'm adding some zeros in here, but I'm effectively putting as much energy back into the car as you would be able to put in a 240, 50 amp setup like in a building. So I can go in one hour. I can go from 70% state of charge up to about 90 to 95%, depending on, you know, ambient, outside conditions and things like that.Speaker 1:
Okay. So in terms of the rest of the package as it sits at the moment, is there anything else that's sort of holding EVs back in terms of being able to compete at track days like this with internal combustion on an even playing field other than the charge, or is that really the main stumbling block?Speaker 2:
It's really the battery at this point and that technology, just like every technology, is getting better and better, you know, every year, and it's just going to exponentially get to the point where I've heard, you know, that there's going to be a point in the probably 5 to 10 year period that you're not even going to plug the car in. They're going to regen, even in track use, you know. So they're going to recapture the energy motion from the wheels and then other things. I don't think solar is there yet, obviously, but you're going to see these cars the point where you don't even have to plug them in, they're just going to generate their own energy.Speaker 1:
I look forward to that day. You did just mention there about regen, and that sort of leads me to the regenerative braking. Now I'm just wondering is that something that you're making use of on the racetrack? If so, does that have any effect on the feel to the driver? Or tell us about that.Speaker 2:
So with the boot bonus module that we're running, we do not use the regen. Currently the regen almost feels like trail braking. So when you drive an EV on the street you can control. You don't even have to use the brake pedal. So you can control everything through the accelerator. It's similar on the track. When you come off the accelerator the car tries to kind of slow down. It doesn't stop, but you can. It's almost like if you're, if you're into racing and you understand what trail braking is, you can kind of come off the accelerator and create a trail brake scenario. With the way that we are running the car now and what we've learned, without the regen you know you're using a lot more brake but the car just feels a lot more natural rolling through the corner without having that interference.Speaker 1:
Alright, jordan, great to learn a little bit more about what is involved in running one of these cars at the racetrack and obviously, as time goes by, more and more people are going to be doing that. You're still in the middle of competition here, so we wish you all the best for the rest of the day and look forward to seeing your results. Thanks for your time. I appreciate it. Thank you, guys. If you enjoyed this podcast, please feel free to leave a review on whatever platform you've chosen to listen to it on. It goes a long way to help us getting the word out there. All these conversations and much more are also available in full on our High Performance Academy YouTube channel, so make sure you subscribe. It's a one stop shop when it comes to going faster, stopping quicker and cornering better.