Tesla Model 3 performance put to the test on Laguna Seca raceway

The Tesla Model 3 got pushed to its limits at the world famous Laguna Seca Raceway recently, depicting what could very well be the electric car’s first real-world high-performance test.

Model 3 owner Matt Crowley decided to take his electric car to the Laguna Seca Raceway after his track car, a Porsche Cayman GT4, ended up in the shop for repairs before his scheduled run.  

As noted by Crowley in his video description, his Model 3 was almost completely stock, with the electric car getting improved handling by way of 1.5-inch ‘moderate’ dual rate performance springs from Tesla aftermarket tuner Unplugged Performance.

In a post on the Tesla Motors Club, Crowley admitted that he expected the Model 3 to run full power for about two laps before the electric car’s software limits its performance. Much to Crowley’s surprise, however, the Model 3 ran nine laps (his entire session) without slowing down.

“The first session of the day had NO battery power limitations! Nine laps without slowing down! Yes!”

The fact that the Model 3 was able to handle nine laps on a racetrack without the car’s software limiting its performance is noteworthy. The Model S’ track performance, after all, has been limited greatly by the car’s software, as noted by professional race car driver Robb Holland when he took the full-sized electric sedan around the 12.9-mile Nurburgring.

Teslarati’s “48” Model S race car at Laguna Seca

During the nine laps that he ran on the Laguna Seca Raceway, Crowley noted that he used up 135 miles worth of range on his Model 3. His best lap was a conservative 1:57.50, which, according to rankings on, places it within the same range as a Porsche 911 Carrera (1:54.22) and Jeremy Clarkson’s Honda NSX (1:57.00), which the veteran auto host drove on Top Gear Season 7 Episode 6.

While the Model 3 managed to last Crowley’s entire Laguna Seca session without the car limiting its power, the vehicle’s brakes were compromised during the track session. According to Crowley, the car’s brake pads were completely used up by the time he was on his fourth lap. Determined to test his car’s capabilities, however, the Tesla enthusiast opted to continue pushing his Model 3, using the car’s regenerative braking to compensate for the vehicle’s lack of brake pads.

Overall, Crowley believes that if he had a better set of brakes, or if he had better driving skills, he could have easily managed to set a better lap time for his Model 3. The Tesla enthusiast asserted, however, that the car was perfectly balanced and its handling was superb during the entire track session.

As we noted in a previous report, Tesla appears to be steadily hitting its stride with the production of the Model 3, delivering an estimated 4,360 units from January to February, making it the best-selling electric car in the United States in the year so far. Tesla seems to be preparing for the rollout of the dual-motor Model 3 as well, with an AWD variant of the mass market compact electric car spotted in the wild last week.

Watch Crowley’s Laguna Seca run on his Tesla Model 3 below.

Tesla Model 3 performance put to the test on Laguna Seca raceway
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