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Vendor MPP / TeamPGR Project Plaid

MountainPass

Active Member
Global Vendor
Mar 2, 2018
1,725
3,571
Toronto, Canada
Hi Everyone,

I hope you're all having a great week! We've been meaning to make a Plaid journal for a while - so while we're a bit late, it's better late than never. For those are you that are eager for the latest updates, we are usually posting to Instagram.

Let's get started!

A quick summary about the car - the purpose of this car is to compete in One Lap Of America so that Chad and Andrew of TeamPGR have the best chance possible of winning the event, or coming as close to that as possible.

The intent of the car is to still be enjoyable on the street but be optimized for the track, in as much a bolt-on fashion as possible. That development involves designing parts for MPP that we can offer to you all, and some bits are more one-off for this project specifically.


Baseline:

Chad and Andrew drove the car up here and entrusted it with us in late October. Our first task was to fit some wheels provided by Martian wheels, install a MoTeC datalogging system, and make some small improvements to make the car a bit better on the track. We removed the front brake heat shields, installed fire sleeving on the OEM wheel speed sensor wire, and bled the brake fluid with high-temperature racing brake fluid.

We then headed to the track to get a baseline. For fun, we made a custom Display Creator layout on the dash to enter "Plaid Mode" whenever the horsepower exceeded 800hp. It was fun.

MPP-Going-Plaid-C125.jpg


Our friends at Speed Academy stopped in to film the day, and we also gave them the opportunity to feel 1000 horsepower. We also lined the car up to a Ferrari for no good reason at all.

Tesla-Model-S-Plaid-MPP.jpg


Here's the video published about that day:


My impressions of the car were that it felt heavy, disconnected from the road, the brakes were unbelievably bad, the yoke was a joke, and the drive system did not allow any power at all unless you were dead straight. The power though was out of this world, and hard to calibrate to. In fact, I only drove it in "Sport" mode, because 700hp was plenty thank you very much!

It was a challenging car to get everything out of, but despite this, the lap time was very impressive for such a heavy car on street tires.


Bye-Bye Air Suspension:

Before the project had started we knew that removing the air suspension would be a requirement for optimal track performance. With our partners at KW, we developed some 3-way adjustable competition dampers and designed top hats in house to fit the suspension.

The question was always going to be how much work would be involved with defeating the OEM air suspension system. Well, it was a lot of work! After weeks of reverse engineering, I had custom software running on a MoTeC ECU that allows us to fully emulate the OEM Tesla Air Suspension ECU.

This means that there are no faults or warnings on the dash/UI (which is important, because a suspension fault results in a 145km/h speed limit!), and we can even hijack the OEM Suspension display, allowing us to display things like tire slip and brake temperature values and graphs on the UI. Cool!

Model-S-Plaid-MPP-KW-Motorsport-Dampers.jpg



Give Me The Front Camber:

Next up was the most important suspension component to lap time, front upper control arms. More camber would allow us to fit a wider wheel and tire (20x11.5 +40), along with a meaty 315 tires upfront. That along with enough camber to utilize the tire fully mid-corner would mean heaps more grip to go along with our new competition dampers.

Thanks to the magic of 3d scanning, we were able to design and produce a prototype FUCA in record time, and get back to the track before the snow was falling. We had also been working on some other bits, like our larger front brake kit, but we didn't get it completed in time for the track test.

Model-S-Plaid-Front-Upper-Control-Arm-MPP-Camber-Adjustment.jpg


We also spent a few hours testing the suspension articulation to ensure that the massive wheel and tire combination wouldn't rub at full lock under a variety of dynamic situations.



Track Test #2 - Disaster Awaits:

We headed off to the track again to evaluate and tune the new setup. The dampers have an incredibly large range of adjustment, so it took some tuning to get them dialed in, but once we were there the car felt 500lbs lighter. It's still no Model 3, but it reminded me of an IMSA GS Camaro I had raced in a previous life. Heavy, but controlled and sure-footed.

Model-S-Big-Boy-Tires.jpg


The front grip was a massive step up from our previous test, and the lap time showed the difference. I think we were something like 5 seconds per lap faster, at a very small track!

Unfortunately (or fortunately for Speed Academy, as their video got a ton of views as a result), our quick attempts to fault stability control resulted in us exposing a bug in the fault handling by the Tesla/Bosch ABS unit, where the ABS system would effectively allow the tires to lock up under braking, with significantly too much rear bias. The result was the car spinning off the track, entirely out of control.

Model-S-Flat.jpg


After thinking I had resolved the issue - I tried it again. Tested the ABS and it worked just as you would expect, no problems. Accelerated down the straightaway and into the first braking zone and... THE SAME THING happened. Car flies off the track.

At this point, you could imagine this was not a good feeling to have, especially as Chad and Andrew were not at the track. Thankfully they were extremely understanding, we had some correspondence with Tesla and they identified the issue and resolved it. So that certainly made us feel better. It should be mentioned that this occurred only because we had faulted a specific sensor, and had that not occurred, this type of behavior would have never happened.

And yes, I should have put a helmet on. But truth be told, there's nothing to hit - it's just a big field, and there were no other cars on the track. I'm not joking when I say that not wearing a helmet made it easier to control the car. The reason is that with the yoke, I actually had to have some peripheral vision to know whether there was any steering wheel in the location I was grabbing for!

So it was a rough ending to an otherwise very successful day. But the positive was that in addition to finding a ton of speed, we were able to confirm that our 315s on 11.5" tires do not rub even when flying off the track at full lock.

And the best bonus was that due to how wet everything was, there was absolutely no damage (not even scratches) to the car, other than a cracked front undertray.



Easy Big Fella:

The next step was to upgrade the brakes (obviously), and we started with a larger 2pc rotor, which works with the OEM caliper. We feel this is a great upgrade for those that are considering track days with their Plaid but don't want to spend the price of a cheap car on a carbon-ceramic brake kit. The OEM Tesla caliper is actually quite nice, and fairly large - so it was really a matter of getting as much rotor cooling as possible. This comes primarily through rotor vane size, so by having wide curved vanes the system is able to extract significantly more heat than OEM.

MPP-Front-Big-Brake-Kit-Plaid.jpg


We installed some multi-channel infrared brake temperature sensors, fitted the BBK on one side, and the OEM rotor on the other side (with the backing plate removed). Once both rotors were heat soaked the larger, better-ventilated rotor cooled down much more rapidly than the OEM rotor, as expected.

1644009836945.png


Model-S-Plaid-Brake-Upgrade-IR-Temp-Test.jpg



Safety First:

Just this week we have installed some Schroth belts. Note that Schroth highly advises against using their belts in untested applications, and are likely not too happy about us doing this. I don't blame them. Andrew and Chad feel this is a safer route, and thanks to our friend John Laughlin for leading the way with this kit on his Model 3.

The headrest was a real pain to remove, but we were able to get it up and get the belts through. The side panel on the seat isn't able to be fully seated without trimming, but otherwise, the installation is quite clean. These belts will do a better job of holding the driver and hopefully do a better job protecting him in the event of a crash.

1644009527674.png



What's Next:

We have more in the works at the moment and will be sharing more as things get finished. It's not always so fun to talk about things in the works because when they don't get finished or don't work out you feel like you're letting everyone down! So we'll try not to share too much until it's actually finished or nearly finished.

We are hoping to get on the track down south in late March, and with the addition of Track Mode, we're really looking forward to seeing what the performance of the car is like. We'll keep you all updated with what we learn along the way of course!
 

MountainPass

Active Member
Global Vendor
Mar 2, 2018
1,725
3,571
Toronto, Canada
Here's another update, this time in the aero department! I've been burning the midnight oil designing a front lip/splitter that also combines a full undertray replacement and front diffuser. It's totally bolt-on which means no fabrication and an OEM fit and finish. I'm really proud of how it came out!

Our friends at Spage Sport machined and finished molds, and then layed up splitter for us.

This is a specific part for this project, as it is extremely expensive to manufacture. The diffuser is made entirely of carbon (unlike most aftermarket "carbon" parts which are all fiberglass with one layer of carbon, usually made with polyester resin), vacuum infused in multiple steps, and includes provisions for all of the OEM mounting locations.

The diffuser will add significant front downforce which we will match with a rear wing. We're optimistic that the downforce gained will yield significant lap time improvements.

Man, this thing looks good on the car, and is totally streetable! Maybe we'll have to find a way to produce it in a more cost-effective manner. It will break my heart if someone knocks this off!

MPP-Tesla-Plaid-Front-Diffuser-Splitter.jpg


MPP-Tesla-Plaid-Front-Diffuser-Underbody.jpg


Our rear toe arms are also finally in production, I'm really excited about how these came out. We added a number of design features that give them a bit of an artsy feel. They are also the easiest to adjust option out there, as access in the rear of the Plaid is a bit of a challenge!


MPP-Model-S-Plaid-Toe-Arms.jpg
 
The front splitter looks great apart from the visible bolts (maybe better in black?). However the amount of times I've scraped the underside of the front lip, the thought of doing that with an expensive carbon part would make me cry. Would love a more cost effective solution.
 

MountainPass

Active Member
Global Vendor
Mar 2, 2018
1,725
3,571
Toronto, Canada
Hi Everyone,

We were able to take the Plaid to the track for a quick shakedown, but before we did that we added a wing from our Hybrid-Electric 350z racecar, and a Model 3 steering wheel and control module from our friend Ryan Huber.

First of all - the Model 3 wheel makes the car so much more enjoyable to drive.

Second of all - the wing looks amazing - if you like the look of racecars and the Porsche GT3RS type look. Of course, this is too much for a road car. We already know that. You need not comment about it :)

The wing is absolutely a large benefit to lap times, and that is the primary reason why it is installed. The trunk has also been reinforced to carry the significant load from the wing.

Despite the track being slow due to water on the main straightaway (which would build up on the floor, and then keep the rear tires wet turning into the first corner!) and oil in corner 3, we were still able to do a 1:14.7 which is the fastest any car has gone here on normal road car tires. To put it in perspective, a V10 Audi R8 does a 1:18. Prepared Porsche GT3RS's and Turbos on TrofeoR tires do 1:15s. My unlimited racecar held the record at this circuit for many years with a 1:13 lap time.


We've also overlayed our racecar's lap to the Plaid lap at the end - it's quite interesting to watch the differences and how despite the Plaid being on street tires, in the high-speed, left kink the speeds are almost the same, suggesting that we have a decent amount of downforce.

MPP-Model-S-Plaid-Wing.jpg
 

MountainPass

Active Member
Global Vendor
Mar 2, 2018
1,725
3,571
Toronto, Canada
Hi Everyone,

I wanted to update you on how things are going with the Plaid! It's currently the third day of the One Lap Of America, and the Plaid is performing well above our expectations.

Andy is driving incredibly, and the car hasn't missed a beat since the event began.

Already the guys have won one event outright - OVERALL (out of around 80 cars). Against absolute top-level supercars, some of which are driven by hired professional drivers. It's absolutely insane that Andy and the MPP.R Plaid were able to pull this off.

One-Lap-Day-Two-Results.jpg


The guys are attracting a lot of attention. If you imagine the cars at the event, in the top 10 it's basically - Corvette, Turbocharged big-aero S2000 racecar, McLaren 720S, Camaro ZL1 1LE, Porsche 911, then 5000lb luxury sedan. Lol.

HPT-on-track2.jpg


Since the win at Nashville, the guys have consistently been in the top 3, with finishes as follows:

Carolina Motorsport Park AM: 6th (we deployed too much power and overheated the battery on the 3rd lap, losing 7 seconds - gap from 6th to 1st was only 3 seconds - OVER 3 LAPS!)

Carolina Motorsports Park PM: 2nd (turned the power down with the Motec)

Lanier Speedway Oval: 2nd (BY THREE-TENTHS OF A SECOND!)

Barber Motorsports Park AM: 3rd (if you know Barber, you know how impressive it is to be able to hang with supercars here - it is NOT a power track)

Barber Motorsports Park PM: 3rd

Prior to Nashville, there were two events - a wet skidpad and an Auto-X. Unfortunately the setup on the car was wrong on the wet skidpad, and it was just a dismal result. The tires are PS4S's so they are great in the rain - it was just a setup mistake. That started the guys off in 57th place. Since then they are now up to 5th overall. The way the points work in this event is not like Formula 1. It's more like Nascar. First is 420 points, and 5 points less for each position down from there. So a DNF (57th is basically a DNF), is impossible to come back from. The fact that the guys are already almost back in a podium spot shows just how fast and consistent the Plaid has been compared to the competition.

MPPR-Plaid-At-Barber.jpg


But the ZL1 Corvette and the S2000 will be hard to beat. They are as fast as the Plaid or faster, so unless they have a major problem, we won't be them. But it's only the halfway mark, so we shouldn't focus too much on the ending!

The TeamPGR guys have a ton of great media on their social channels, as they have a professional videographer with them. I really encourage you to check them out if you use Instagram or Facebook, and we're posting the results regularly on our channels as well of course.


If you don't know what One Lap Of America is, it's an event that evolved from the old Cannonball run, and sponsored by Tire Rack - this event is basically a week-long endurance of a legal way to push cars to their limits. Teams need to have road-legal cars and transit over 3500 miles to 11 different venues (sometimes more than one in a day!) over 7 days. Each event typically contains 3 timed laps where each lap counts - but there are also different events such as skidpad and drag racing.

One Lap has been around for a long time and it has a big following due to its rich history and the wild nature of the event. It's taken quite seriously by a few top contenders. These teams will regularly "pre-run" tracks once the schedule is released to learn each track, as on the actual event you get NO practice, it's just the three laps. And every year it's a different set of venues!

I will come back with an update later on in the week. You can also follow along and see live video and results of the event here:

Results:

Live Feeds Of Each Run:
 

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