Tesla Model S Racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

The Track

Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) outside course is adjacent to the Super Speedway and is conveniently located close to the center of the city. It’s a 2.4 miles long, technical course, featuring 13 turns of various configurations. The track is completely flat with no elevation changes or on/off camber turns.

lvms outside road course

The Tesla Model S

The Model S handles quite well on this track, although frequent speed changes contribute to more pronounced power limitation. The track surface did not change much throughout the day which allowed us to maintain the same amount of tire grip and slippage. The consistent track conditions allowed us to really concentrate on racing techniques and follow proper racing lines while building our experience with the open passing format.

Our best lap time was 2:17 with a top speed of 110 mph on the front straightaway. Run Group: Orange with Speed Ventures

Charging and Power Consumption

The course is only 11 miles away from the new Las Vegas Tesla Supercharger. With the Supercharger so close by, we were able to run full sessions in the morning and then head back to the Supercharger during our lunch break to fill back up. It’s approximately a 20 minute transit each way and requires another hour to recharge.

The outside course has a single 220V 50Amp SS2 twist lock outlet behind the building. We confirmed it was operational however there was no need to use it given that the Supercharger was so close by.

Also see: The Tesla Racing Series

The track consumed less power than other tracks we’ve raced at, averaging 900 wh/m. We were able to run the first lap all out before power limitation began on the second lap. After approx. 6 to 8 laps, power was limited to 80 kw (1/4 of MS capacity). At this point it was time to pull off the track, as the car could barely accelerate. We tried spending a few minutes in the grid to let the car cool down. After about 4 minutes the power limitation was reduced by not completely gone. It was good enough to allow us to continue racing, but unfortunately by the time we’ve cooled down, the session was practically over.

LV SC

Travel

Traveling to Las Vegas in the Model S was an adventure in itself. The area between Las Vegas and Barstow is prone to extremely high winds and sand storms which we seriously underestimated. Sustained head winds of 35mph along with steep elevation changes substantially reduce available range. Even by reducing driving speeds to 40 mph our power consumption was consistently in the 400-500 wh/m range.

In the end we paid dearly for it and ended up stranded on the side of the road with no range left. Tesla was a class act and gracious enough to cover the towing, but overall it was a very stressful experience which we’ll surely learn from.

 



Tesla Racer

Author: Tesla Racer

Vlad Tovbin from San Diego, CA is the driver of the "48" TESLARATI race car. By taking his Tesla to race tracks around the country, Vlad's mission is to prove that an electric car can stand equal with its gasoline counterparts both on and off the track, and that sustainable energy transportation is the future.

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  • anderlan

    Whiskey Pete’s at the border has J1772’s and Clarke’s Mobile Home Park half way between the border and Barstow has 14-50s. My guess is there’s more electric refueling stops along the empty part of this leg than there are gas stops ;-)

    • http://www.teslarati.com/ TESLARATI.com

      Learned something new! We’ll be sure to check that one out the next time we need a boost.

      Thanks!

      • anderlan

        Plugshare.com is your EV road trip BEST FRIEND. It’s an electric GasBuddy. The best charge station database, period.

  • Sam

    I’m always perplexed by running out of juice between Las Vegas Supercharger and Barstow. Perhaps you can explain your average speed BEFORE slowing down?

    • http://www.teslarati.com/ TESLARATI.com

      We didn’t anticipate receiving so much press on the fact that we ran out of power, especially since the intent of our racing articles is to showcase the amazing capabilities of Tesla’s technology, as well as provide an educational overview of how modern day lithium-ion powered vehicles, in a performance setting, fare against their gasoline powered counterparts.

      We’ll be sure to post a separate article to address all of the questions that we’ve received in regards to running out of juice. We’re a bit embarrassed to say the least, but there’s a lot of valuable findings that came out of that experience.

      Stay tuned! Thanks!

      -TESLARATI

  • John J. McAvoy

    This is a crappy article for a technically oriented blog. Alot of questions beg to be asked: 1) what was the status of the charge upon departure from LV? 2) what was average speed? 3) Did anyone notice the drop of charge before crossing border to CA? It seems to me that negative comments get more press.