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Model 3 LR vs Performance for 1-2 track days a year

play150

Member
Feb 25, 2021
157
61
USA
Hi everyone,
I'm currently considering the M3 LR since I'd definitely get wheel/tire damage with the 20" wheels where I live (Boston). I'm thinking of the 18" aero wheels, and perhaps switching the wheel covers for the orbital covers! There's also a $2,500 rebate for EVs under 50k in Massachusetts (free acceleration boost!) and I don't think I need the full power of the M3P to have fun!

That being said, I was wondering if any of y'all that have done performance driving with the LR had insight on a couple of track-related considerations:
  • The LR would come without the bigger M3P brakes - I was thinking that changing the pads and brake fluid might be sufficient for track use? (Along with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 or 4S's)
    • I'm not a pro driver or anything so I don't know if I'll be stressing them suuuper hard.
  • Do you think that the lack of track mode is fine?
    • I don't really feel a need to tune the front-rear power delivery, but I was wondering about things like the cooling overclock and the traction control defeat. I've test driven the Model Y performance, Model Y LR and Model 3 SR+ (no M3P or LR available...) and I've definitely felt the power cut out many times when trying to drive harder.
      • Perhaps a way around the traction control would be to get the MMP Partybox that now works for the LR AWD (in beta)
 
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Tevo Solutions

Local Vendor - The UK & Ireland
Dec 21, 2020
67
70
UK
There are some complexities to the question of what is appropriate for the track. And the most important one doesn't have to do with tires per se but with your suspension setup.

First of all the biggest problem with the car is that without running very significantly more negative camber at the front on the order of at least two and a half degrees you will destroy the outer edge of just about any Tire in Fairly short order. The softer the compound the quicker it will get chewed up. In that sense the problem with the Pilot Sport 4S is not that it's a poor track tire it's that it's pretty soft on the Outer Edge and it gets shredded quickly especially if it's hot, and the thermal stresses on the tread while you're doing hot laps on the track are really something else.. This means that in four or five hot laps you might have to replace your tires at least at the front. That makes them very expensive laps given the cost of that tire.

You can mitigate this by getting significantly more front camber but that requires replacing the front upper control arm and probably also the rear camber arms with an adjustable aftermarket arm. This combination allows you to get to at least two and a half degrees all around. Some of the serious track guys are running more than that in the front. In any case, there were a number of highly rated trackable tires (typically called 'Extreme Performance' in the Tire Rack lexicon. The previous overall favorite was the Bridgestone re71r. But to drive them on the road was not fun. Rough riding, noisy and they throw stones at your body work like a juvenile delinquent. Currently the favorite track tire is probably the Yokohama a052 but there are probably some folks running the Michelin Cup 2 Tire particularly in its latest iteration the Connect cup 2. I would agree with the other poster who says that if it's cold and rainy the Pilot Sport 4S is a great tire . . . so is the Goodyear supercar tire although it is not very pleasant to ride in. The cup 2 in the rain on the other hand is frankly a little bit treacherous in my opinion. Check out some of the track threads and you'll hear all about this stuff. Although people think that if they are infrequent trackers they don't need to go with the front control arm setup what they save in tire costs in a year pays for the cost of the upper control arm.
The Cup 2 and especially the Cup 2 Connect, which is not just a Cup 2 with sensor pocket, is a vastly superior tyre in the wet than it used to be when they first came out and there's a lot of mis-information around on the Internet from people quoting old comments about Cup 2s in the wet back in the early days of them. They aren't so good when it's wet AND cold, but if it's just wet they are really not that bad at all, particularly when still fairly new.
As a road legal tyre you can drive to and from the track on they are hard to beat as they aren't super noisy or super uncomfortable and the shoulders will stand up to many laps on a stock Model 3 without wearing through.

In Europe we didn't have access to the RE71 and the problem with the A052 is the lack of suitable sizes if you want to stick with 19" or 20" rims.
What I've decided to do now is use 245/35 20 Cup 2 Connects for summer road/light track use and I'm going to try AR-1s for more hardcore track stuff, but I do have lots of camber. I wouldn't recommend a tyre like that on a stock Model 3.
 
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Tevo Solutions

Local Vendor - The UK & Ireland
Dec 21, 2020
67
70
UK
I have heard that the PS4S gets reallly hard when its cold and that it is even possible to damage when you drive it below 0-10 degrees celsius
It isn't a winter tyre and no 'summer' is designed to work well below 7C. I'm sure lots of drivers use PS4S below 0C without any damage to the tyres (I certainly have), but grip and performance will be sub-optimal!
 
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dfwatt

Active Member
Sep 24, 2018
3,121
5,129
FL
I have heard that the PS4S gets reallly hard when its cold and that it is even possible to damage when you drive it below 0-10 degrees celsius

Not 10 degrees Celsius but something like 25 degrees Fahrenheit. They're not recommended in that level of cold. But not many folks are out racing when the track is below freezing. And don't ever drive them in snow.
 
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Mahamilto

Member
Feb 20, 2021
397
323
New York, NY
They (summer tires) aren’t supposed to be driven under 40* Fahrenheit. It’s because the compound has a much higher freezing temp because the extra silica in the compound (and extra additives).

My experience has been they become un-drivable below 25 if there is any moisture around. This makes things much much worse.

Try the new pilot sport all-season 4. It’s really amazing. Recent test showed 0.93g on a 430i vs 0.95 with the summer PS4s. Almost negligible.
Clearly though, this applies to daily driving, not track recs.
 
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mnewbs23

Member
May 20, 2021
17
22
Portland, OR
There are some complexities to the question of what is appropriate for the track. And the most important one doesn't have to do with tires per se but with your suspension setup.

First of all the biggest problem with the car is that without running very significantly more negative camber at the front on the order of at least two and a half degrees you will destroy the outer edge of just about any Tire in Fairly short order. The softer the compound the quicker it will get chewed up. In that sense the problem with the Pilot Sport 4S is not that it's a poor track tire it's that it's pretty soft on the Outer Edge and it gets shredded quickly especially if it's hot, and the thermal stresses on the tread while you're doing hot laps on the track are really something else.. This means that in four or five hot laps you might have to replace your tires at least at the front. That makes them very expensive laps given the cost of that tire.

You can mitigate this by getting significantly more front camber but that requires replacing the front upper control arm and probably also the rear camber arms with an adjustable aftermarket arm. This combination allows you to get to at least two and a half degrees all around. Some of the serious track guys are running more than that in the front. In any case, there were a number of highly rated trackable tires (typically called 'Extreme Performance' in the Tire Rack lexicon. The previous overall favorite was the Bridgestone re71r. But to drive them on the road was not fun. Rough riding, noisy and they throw stones at your body work like a juvenile delinquent. Currently the favorite track tire is probably the Yokohama a052 which has better ride and even better grip than the re71 although perhaps not as great steering feedback but there are probably some folks running the Michelin Cup 2 Tire particularly in its latest iteration the Connect cup 2. I would agree with the other poster who says that if it's cold and rainy the Pilot Sport 4S is a great tire . . . so is the Goodyear supercar tire although it is not very pleasant to ride in. The cup 2 in the rain on the other hand is frankly a little bit treacherous in my opinion. Check out some of the track threads and you'll hear all about this stuff. Although people think that if they are infrequent trackers they don't need to go with the front control arm setup what they save in tire costs in a year pays for the cost of the upper control arm.
Question re: negative camber. Would you only adjust to negative 2.5 before a track day, and then adjust back to neutral for street driving, or with the aftermarket upper control arm could you just keep it at negative 2.5 all the time?
 
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play150

Member
Feb 25, 2021
157
61
USA
LR tyres are usually Michelin Pilot Sport 4 (PS4), P tyres were PS4S (before Tesla switched to P Zeros). The next step up from the PS4S/PZero is the Michelin Cup 2.

These tyres are all in the same family and are all very good tyres. All can be used on the road and track. The difference between them (on a dry track) is:
1. How long it takes for them to warm up to their optimum operating temperature.
2. How long it takes before they overheat and give up grip
3. How they wear

The PS4 is going to overheat and wear very quickly on track, but it will be at optimum temperature almost immediately.
The PS4S will wear better but the shoulder of the tyre will wear out quickly if you don't have additional camber on the car. They will reach optimum temperature quickly and will last longer than the PS4 before overheating.
The Cup 2 starts out with less tread than the PS4S but will wear much better on track as it's designed to cope with the lateral loads better. It will take longer to reach optimum temperature (1-2 laps of a short track) but won't be easy to overheat.

If the track is cold and wet, the PS4S would be my choice.
If the track is dry and warm, I'd use the Cup 2.

Tyres are a compromise. There isn't one tyre that's good for all situations. If you will be driving to and from the track on the same tyres in unpredictable weather conditions, then it's even more of a compromise.

If you are only doing 2-3 trackdays a year and don't want to change wheels you might be best off sticking with the PS4S, but without knowing more information it's difficult to give good advice.
The PS4Ss on my current car do indeed wear a lot around the shoulder area (no camber) x_x
 
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dfwatt

Active Member
Sep 24, 2018
3,121
5,129
FL
We run -2.5 camber on the front and -1.5 on the rear all the time (street & track) without any problems. YMMV.
Yes and it's excessive toe in or toe out that chews up the front tires much more than the camber. My only problem with that is the Aesthetics of it. I always thought that more negative camber at the front than at the rear looked a little funny. But that's obviously not substitutive!
 
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Tevo Solutions

Local Vendor - The UK & Ireland
Dec 21, 2020
67
70
UK
Yes and it's excessive toe in or toe out that chews up the front tires much more than the camber. My only problem with that is the Aesthetics of it. I always thought that more negative camber at the front than at the rear looked a little funny. But that's obviously not substitutive!
I don't get any odd comments and it looks good to me, so everyone's happy I reckon!
 
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Mrcarcrazy

Another internet expert @ no charge
May 22, 2019
873
893
South Padre Island, Tx
Most people will not ever notice a degree difference in camber. I do, but I used to align cars for a living. I also notice low tires, odd wear patterns, etc. I’m not right in the head.
@dfwatt is spot on. Toe is the angle which will destroy your tires the fastest. I do not know the factory model 3 specs. But OEMs (at least 15yrs ago) were notorious for having way too broad of “acceptable” toe specs. GM I’m looking at you. Many vehicles would destroy the OEM tires within 15k miles with an “acceptable” toe angle. It was not acceptable.
 
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Tevo Solutions

Local Vendor - The UK & Ireland
Dec 21, 2020
67
70
UK
Here we go - a couple of views of our M3P as it is now. I'd quoted old figures before, we actually have just over 3° of negative camber on the front and -2.5 on the rear.

_DSC4990_M_S.jpg
_DSC5011_M_S.jpg
 
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Mash

Supporting Member
Nov 10, 2019
962
701
Prague
I don't really like 3 front camber on the street - steering is lighter and car is more nervous. Also, my track tire temps suggest that I don't really need above 3 on the track - inner edge gets too hot at 3.5. Also, I confirm that cup2 is drivable slow in wet, but wet and cold makes it act like it's on ice. 4S on another hand is a tire of choice for wet track on a Nurburgring by local taxis.
 
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