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Modified Tesla Model 3 laps Tsukuba nearly as quick as a McLaren F1

By Daniel Wong, 14 Feb 2020 News

Tesla Model 3 Performance Tsukuba laps McLaren F1 news

Model 3 lays impressive lap time with sticky performance rubber, tweaked suspension and carbon brakes

We know that the Tesla Model 3 Performance is a fearsome bit of kit on the strip, but how does it handle track duties? Rather well, according to Tesla enthusiast, owner, and YouTuber ‘DÆrik’.

DÆrik recently released a video that claims that his modified Model 3 Performance managed to get within 0.14sec of the legendary McLaren F1 lap time on Japan’s Tsukuba circuit.

Though there is no dashcam footage of the lap, as the camera got dismounted halfway through but continued logging in the car’s G-forces and current speed, the driver managed to log in a lap time of 1min 4.76sec, which is just a whisker off the F1’s 1min 4.62sec. 

DÆrik discloses that his Model 3 isn’t exactly stock to being with, as it has been used to showcase custom parts at SEMA 2019, and later crossed the Pacific for an appearance at the 2020 Tokyo Auto Salon.

Modifications done to the car include an Ascension R bodykit, sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, carbon-ceramic brakes, adjustable coilovers and suspension arms, thicker sway bars, and semi-bucket seats.

MOTOR review: Model 3 Performance driven!

While DÆrik maintains that these modifications aren’t overly aggressive nor was there any performance enhancements or massive weight-saving measures, the use of modern track-focused performance rubber and fade-resistant carbon-ceramic brakes would work well in the Model 3 Performance favour at laying down an impressive lap time. 

Granted, the small and tight layout of Tsukuba isn’t the sort of circuit that suits grand V12-powered rear-wheel drive supercars as 11 of the top 15 lap setters at Tsukuba are all-wheel drive cars, with the other four being iterations of the 911 GT3 and a Radical SR4 track toy.

That being said, DÆrik believes that the car could go even quicker considering that the lap was done on a damp January day with below-zero temperatures. With a warmer day and a more experience driver, he believes that his Model 3 Performance could shave two seconds off that lap time.

While we will leave DÆrik’s claims up to the internet to debate, we have answered more pertinent questions about the Model 3 Performance, namely can it slide?

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