Modified Tesla

Tesla Model 3 emerges as track monster after Pikes Peak crash

Credit: Unplugged Performance Instagram

Unplugged Performance has turned its crashed Tesla Model 3 into the most aerodynamically aggressive Tesla ever created.

Watching the Unplugged Performance Tesla Model 3 crash at the Pikes Peak hill climb was devastating. Not only because of the potential for injury to the driver, but also for all of the lost progress on what had been one of UP’s most successful track toys. But from that fire, that same Model 3 has emerged as the “Bionic Phoenix.” With potentially the most aggressive aerodynamics package a Tesla has ever been adorned with, it is ready to take on anything.

The Instagram post showing off the new vehicle is something to behold. With a massive front splitter that extends for what looks like miles in front of the car, massive fender flares that bulge out from the Tesla’s typically sleek profile, and a wing that could host a full course meal for a family of 12, Unplugged Performance says that the vehicle is capable of up to 4,000 pounds, or two tons, of downforce at speed.

But, as shown in the video, the aerodynamics are far from the only modifications to the already track-focused vehicle. The driver’s seat has been shifted to the middle of the car, reminiscent of hypercars from Pagani, McLaren, and Koenigsegg. Most, if not all, of the bodywork has been replaced with lighter and stiffer carbon-fiber paneling. And the interior has been completely stripped and fitted with a motorsport-ready roll cage. The modifications on the vehicle have been as granular as replacing many of the windows with Lexan alternatives, further lightening the vehicle.

Finally, if the fender flares weren’t enough indication, the vehicle’s power now makes its way to the ground via UP’s 13″ wide UP-03 forged wheels. And while not specified on the post on Instagram, it is likely kept low to the ground thanks to the company’s custom suspension offering.

The UP Bionic Phoenix’s revival story has even made its way into a Twitter thread and even a documentary that detailed the car’s initial mission at Pikes Peak and subsequent crash, all through the delightful voice of driving legend Randy Pobst.

Perhaps more well-known for its Tesla Model S Plaid, which has received similarly extensive modifications, Unplugged Performance has been on a quest to demolish track records around the United States. This includes everywhere from Pikes Peak, Buttonwillow, Willow Springs, and the historic Laguna Seca Raceway. And while UP has not specified where its Frankenstein Tesla Model 3 will be headed, there is no doubt it won’t just sit on some showroom floor.

Perhaps most exciting about UP’s build is that many, if not all, of the products used on their build are available (or will be) in their shop. Thus allowing anyone crazy enough to create their own Tesla rocketship to fling themselves at their local racetrack. An amazing, if slightly terrifying, prospect indeed.

As electric vehicles become increasingly popular, the modification of them will likely grow in popularity in turn. And while EV mods are still very much in their infancy compared to their gas counterparts, I, for one, am excited for the day when significant names like Rousch, Hennessey, and other titans in the modification space begin to enter the market. For now, we can all bask in the glory of the pinnacle Tesla Model 3 and watch as it rips through track records in the very near future.

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Tesla Model 3 emerges as track monster after Pikes Peak crash
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