Racing

Taking a Model S to the track with John Tamplin, part IV

John Tamplin Model S track day
John Tamplin Model S track day

John Tamplin Model S track day

Yesterday, in part III, we looked at the electric and tire pressure specifics of taking your Model S to the track. Today, we focus on late corner braking and what future electric vehicle (EV) car would be a great track day ride.

Part IV

NZ – In the videos you posted on YouTube (Link), you seem to brake later than a gasoline cars. Is that a fair statement in general?

JT – Well, remember this is an HPDE, so the other drivers aren’t pushing it as hard as they can either. I have no idea what the condition of their car is, whether they might be less-capable OEM brakes, for example. Having said this, I think the combination of the large brakes of the Model S and the incredible grip of the wide, sticky Rivals lets me brake later than many other cars. I was riding in a race-prepped Spec BMW E30 with slick, and I noticed that he had to brake much earlier than I did from a similar top speed, but he could carry a lot more speed through the corner because the car weighed half as much. It didn’t have a tendency to understeer, as most street cars do for stability.

Probably on a related note, I noticed that I could actually get through the twisty parts at Road Atlanta faster than some much lighter cars, which seems like it has to come down to the tires or the drivers being more cautious.

NZ – If you had another EV choice to bring to the track, what would it be?

JT – Hmm, a Rimac sounds like fun if they get it built and a Formula E car would probably be more car than I could handle, but more practically it would be interesting to drive a Tesla Roadster around the track and get all that torque in a much lighter car.

NZ – Any last thoughts or words of advice for those who are considering bringing a Model S to the track?

JT – While what I do isn’t racing, I wouldn’t be driving my Model S in wheel-to-wheel racing. I don’t think it would work out very well with the drivetrain temperature limitations and limited battery capacity. HPDE works out pretty well, since you have enough time between sessions you can get some charging in and let the drivetrain cool, but you still get enough track time to make it worthwhile.

The Model S also makes telemetry data available (the same API used by the mobile apps). I can record and analyze it later. I’m currently finishing up code to draw graphs, etc. to overlay on the video, which is helpful as well.

I would definitely recommend getting dedicated track tires, even if you have the extreme summer performance tires. For instance, I found the Rivals are that much better. You also need to plan where you are going to be charging, but in the end, just go have fun. I highly recommend HPDE organizations that have controlled passing and instructors for new drivers. If wrecking the car would cause serious financial hardship, get track-day insurance, if your regular insurance won’t cover it. Just be prepared that after you do it once, you won’t want to stop 🙂

Part IV

NZ – In the videos you posted on YouTube (Link), you seem to brake later than a gasoline cars. Is that a fair statement in general?

JT – Well, remember this is an HPDE, so the other drivers aren’t pushing it as hard as they can either. I have no idea what the condition of their car is, whether they might be less-capable OEM brakes, for example. Having said this, I think the combination of the large brakes of the Model S and the incredible grip of the wide, sticky Rivals lets me brake later than many other cars. I was riding in a race-prepped Spec BMW E30 with slick, and I noticed that he had to brake much earlier than I did from a similar top speed, but he could carry a lot more speed through the corner because the car weighed half as much. It didn’t have a tendency to understeer, as most street cars do for stability.

Probably on a related note, I noticed that I could actually get through the twisty parts at Road Atlanta faster than some much lighter cars, which seems like it has to come down to the tires or the drivers being more cautious.

NZ – If you had another EV choice to bring to the track, what would it be?

JT –

Hmm, a Rimac sounds like fun if they get it built and a Formula E car would probably be more car than I could handle, but more practically it would be interesting to drive a Tesla Roadster around the track and get all that torque in a much lighter car.

NZ – Any last thoughts or words of advice for those who are considering bringing a Model S to the track?

JT – While what I do isn’t racing, I wouldn’t be driving my Model S in wheel-to-wheel racing. I don’t think it would work out very well with the drivetrain temperature limitations and limited battery capacity. HPDE works out pretty well, since you have enough time between sessions you can get some charging in and let the drivetrain cool, but you still get enough track time to make it worthwhile.

The Model S also makes telemetry data available (the same API used by the mobile apps). I can record and analyze it later. I’m currently finishing up code to draw graphs, etc. to overlay on the video, which is helpful as well.

I would definitely recommend getting dedicated track tires, even if you have the extreme summer performance tires. For instance, I found the Rivals are that much better. You also need to plan where you are going to be charging, but in the end, just go have fun. I highly recommend HPDE organizations that have controlled passing and instructors for new drivers. If wrecking the car would cause serious financial hardship, get track-day insurance, if your regular insurance won’t cover it. Just be prepared that after you do it once, you won’t want to stop 🙂

John Tamplin Model S track day

John Tamplin Model S track day

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