Tesla driver shares insights after Model 3 gets banned from racing events

Credit: Unplugged Performance/X

There was a time when electric vehicles were not really taken seriously by automotive enthusiasts. After the original Tesla Roadster and the Model S, however, it became more and more difficult to ignore the fact that EVs can perform against combustion-powered cars in competitive events. By the time the Model 3 Performance came into the picture, the anti-EV narrative had already shifted to the idea that electric cars are only good for straight-line races, not the track. 

Such narratives have become inaccurate today, with vehicles like the Tesla Model S Plaid and the Model 3 Performance being legitimate vehicles for competitive racing events. This trend could be seen in the lineup of EVs that have shown up at Pikes Peak over the years, as well as the presence of cars like Unplugged Performance’s Model S Plaid racer, Dark Helmet, which won the event’s Exhibition Class in 2021.

Unfortunately, it would appear that electric vehicles are now being prevented from competing in some competitive driving events. As noted by Tesla driver Jon Bickford, whose Model 3 was outfitted with upgraded wheels, suspension, and brakes from EV tuning house Unplugged Performance, he ended up being banned from the Goodguys 2024 Autocross event. What’s ironic is that Bickford’s Model 3 previously performed very well at the event, winning five out of five shootouts last year. 

“Well, after setting (the) fastest time of the show 5/5 events and winning 5/5 shootouts last year, it looks like Goodguys decided to ban me a couple weeks before the season,” the Model 3 driver noted, as shared by Unplugged Performance in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. 

Interestingly enough, Bickford noted that he was also banned from competing in the Hot Rod Power Tour West Autocross event. The Model 3 owner noted that his ban was quite strange since his exhibition lap was faster than the rest of the field. His ban was also announced after he had already driven to the Hot Rod Power Tour west autocross’s location. 

“I also got banned from competing in the Hot Rod Power Tour West Autocross. They let me run ‘exhibition laps.’ I was 0.626 faster than the rest of the field, but not eligible to compete. They made that decision AFTER I left San Diego at 4 a.m. and drove to Vegas motor speedway,” Bickford noted. 

It is unfortunate that events like the Goodguys 2024 Autocross have opted to prevent electric vehicles from participating in competitive racing events. The presence of electric cars in such events, after all, drives home the notion that EVs are here to stay — and that they could beat combustion-powered cars on their own turf. 

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Tesla driver shares insights after Model 3 gets banned from racing events
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