Why Choose the Tesla Model 3?
The Model 3 is one of the most impressive modern examples of car manufacturing. Well over 1-Million have been built, and hundreds of thousands more are built every year. They are relatively “affordable”, have high energy density to curb weight, an impressive suspension design, fast charging, and satisfactory power. One of the things that we really appreciate about the Model 3 is how well Tesla designed it from a repairability perspective. The added bonus for us is that this means aftermarket parts play quite nicely with the vehicle and can be installed without significant effort. As a result, companies such as Mountain Pass Performance have spent the time researching and developing high-performance parts for the chassis, something we really have not seen with any other electric vehicle platform.
Reliability on Track
You may be wondering how reliable the Model 3 is as a track vehicle. We are happy to share that after multiple thousands of track miles, we have yet to see any significant failures. Battery degradation does not appear to be impacted in any notable fashion, and we have not seen any battery or motor failures on the vehicles we have tracked. In general, the Model 3 is an extremely reliable vehicle. Tesla built the vehicle with simplicity and using as few parts as possible as one of their core goals, and it has paid dividends. In addition, Tesla did a very impressive job with the cooling and high voltage systems of the vehicle. And, since we don’t have to worry about an internal combustion engine, multi-speed transmission, and emissions systems, there’s just simply a lot less “stuff” to fail or fix.
Longevity on Track
Another consideration you may have is whether or not the Model 3 is capable of running for a full 15-minute session. While this is not possible at full power in a Performance model (roughly 500hp peak), it is possible with the power levels found in the single motor configuration vehicles (roughly 300hp peak) when utilizing an oil cooler.
How Will I Charge?
Charging is another potential constraint that we have considered. Realistically speaking, DC fast charging is the only viable solution to run two 15-minute sessions in a day. Fortunately, you will be able to Supercharge between sessions with plenty of time to spare, and every track we have looked at has Superchargers within 30 minutes of the venue. We are implanting a starting voltage cap so that there is no need to fully charge the vehicle which would extend charging sessions by a considerable margin.
Comparison to ICE
When compared to an ICE vehicle, the Model 3 is still enjoyable to drive and surprisingly fast on the track. Coupled with reduced running costs, less maintenance, and its impressive ability to function as a dual-purpose vehicle, we feel that competitors will truly enjoy this platform and this series. While you may not have the thrill of exhaust noise, you get a surprising amount of feedback from the tires and the chassis that you may not have noticed before! The ability to control the power electronically means that the discrepancies from car to car will be negligible without the need to dyno the vehicle to ensure competitiveness.
You’ve Convinced Me – How Much Effort Does it Take to Build One?
There is a bit of modification being done to the vehicle to bring it up to Model 3 Challenge specifications. If you do not have significant experience and the tooling needed to do the work, it is recommended to use a reputable shop to build the car for you. The last thing we want is to see a competitor have a problem due to installation error that causes damage to themselves, their car, or those around them. The good news is that the whole car can be built from stock to race-ready in roughly 10-20 hours, based on the specific build, by an experienced technician. As you will find, our modification list is comparably short when compared to a typical ICE build.