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My Model 3 at the Mid-Ohio Race Track

My Model 3 got to enjoy the Mid-Ohio track this Friday, I got to watch from the side. My son had a track event and was willing to give the Model 3 a try. He managed to do 3 laps (more like 2 laps) as the brakes did overheat almost immediately and were toast pretty quick. He felt the car behaved very well, was controllable and neutral, and if had had some good brakes it would have made it much better. The car is stock with the 18” wheels but Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires (much better than the stock ones) at 35 psi for this run. We flushed the brake system with Castrol SRF racing fluid but that did not seem to help a lot – it looks like we really need good race compound brake pads to be able to take this car to the track.

Here is the video from the car:

… and the video from the chase car (Aaron is a track friend of Rudy, who was eager to see how the Model 3 would do):

… and here is the car dash cam video (sorry it has no audio):

The good lap he managed to do he clocked at 1:54, which he wasn’t quite happy with, he thinks the car can do better with good brakes. BTW this is his best time at that track so far in his heavily modified M3 (the real M3 J) (1:40):
 
My Model 3 got to enjoy the Mid-Ohio track this Friday, I got to watch from the side. My son had a track event and was willing to give the Model 3 a try. He managed to do 3 laps (more like 2 laps) as the brakes did overheat almost immediately and were toast pretty quick. He felt the car behaved very well, was controllable and neutral, and if had had some good brakes it would have made it much better. The car is stock with the 18” wheels but Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires (much better than the stock ones) at 35 psi for this run. We flushed the brake system with Castrol SRF racing fluid but that did not seem to help a lot – it looks like we really need good race compound brake pads to be able to take this car to the track.

Here is the video from the car:

… and the video from the chase car (Aaron is a track friend of Rudy, who was eager to see how the Model 3 would do):

… and here is the car dash cam video (sorry it has no audio):

The good lap he managed to do he clocked at 1:54, which he wasn’t quite happy with, he thinks the car can do better with good brakes. BTW this is his best time at that track so far in his heavily modified M3 (the real M3 J) (1:40):
Thanks this is informative. I was kind of hoping that the gap would be narrower with the M3! :(

I guess 0 to 60 times aren’t everything when you do 0 to 120.
 
Thanks this is informative. I was kind of hoping that the gap would be narrower with the M3! :(QUOTE]

Yes, I was hoping for a narrower gap too, but it looks like there is a good potential for improvement - we just need good pads - Rudy was happy with how the car behaved and the tires held. Also, the M3 is modified to a point that it is not street drivable any more.
 

jaguar36

Active Member
Apr 10, 2014
2,148
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NJ
Tesla really screwed up on those brakes. Bad breaking numbers, useless on the track, cost a fortune to replace.
The Model 3 is not meant for track usage. Why would Tesla ever consider that a use case for the base car? I'm sure glad they didn't waste money on putting track sized brakes on the base car. And who cares about the replacement cost? Brake pads with normal usage will basically last the life of the car on a Tesla.
 
Tesla really screwed up on those brakes. Bad breaking numbers, useless on the track, cost a fortune to replace.

This may be placebo effect but I don’t trust those brakes when I drive my model 3. I had a model s as a loaner 2 weeks ago and the brakes felt so much better.

Think of what the Model 3 brakes are engineered to do for a second.

Probably 90% of the braking of the car during normal use is regen (if you don't drive like an idiot) so the stock pads need to have good bite when cold. Almost. Every. Single. Time. It's the exact opposite of a racing pad that are designed to operate in a much higher temperature range.

I'm a track rat, but anybody with any experience will know that Tesla made the right engineering decision when it comes to brake pads on this car. You don't design for the 1% you do it for the 99% and I'm getting a little tired of the bitching from the ill-informed that the brakes are somehow dangerous or poor. No they are not.

Do you want soccer Moms running into cars that pull out in front of them because the brakes pads aren't warmed up enough? How are the vast majority of Model 3s going to be used?

You clearly need to swap pads with this car before heading to the track. People need to stop blaming Tesla for their questionable decisions.
 
The Model 3 is not meant for track usage. Why would Tesla ever consider that a use case for the base car? I'm sure glad they didn't waste money on putting track sized brakes on the base car. And who cares about the replacement cost? Brake pads with normal usage will basically last the life of the car on a Tesla.
I forgot the exact figures but a 2017 Altima gets better braking distances than a Model 3. It’s just doesn’t look good.

I personally don’t track my car but I am pretty sure any car that is comparable to a model 3 can do more than 4 laps on a track.. the “not meant for the track” is not a very good excuse IMO
 
I forgot the exact figures but a 2017 Altima gets better braking distances than a Model 3. It’s just doesn’t look good.

I personally don’t track my car but I am pretty sure any car that is comparable to a model 3 can do more than 4 laps on a track.. the “not meant for the track” is not a very good excuse IMO
Braking distance is entirely due to the low rolling resistance tires. Put some summer tires on it and the stopping distance would be way shorter.
In terms of track braking performance I'm sure it's much worse than a BMW 340i though the BMW would probably still cook its brakes pretty quickly too. Hopefully they'll fix it with performance version. The BMW M3 is available with carbon ceramic brakes.
 
I personally don’t track my car but I am pretty sure any car that is comparable to a model 3 can do more than 4 laps on a track.. the “not meant for the track” is not a very good excuse IMO
It actually makes a lot of sense to me - what Tesla did. Compared to an ICE car the Tesla (and the other EVs) has the advantage of the regenerative braking. This means that the brakes will be used much less and would have to work at lower temperatures. Therefore the pad compound can be made to last longer sacrificing on its heat performance. I don't think the car under normal and even occasional panic braking performs worse thank any other street car of that class. These are said to be Brembo brakes so I would assume they put thought and engineering into making them. They also seem similar in design to other high end street cars, some with good race characteristics. They could have just used same compound as one of those cars - the Model 3 would then have behaved much better at the track and still be adequate on the street. However, they decided to optimize for street driving which is 99% of all that car will see. I don't have a problem with that - the problem right now is that there are no race pads available - otherwise I would not have taken the car to the track with these pads - that's why I put the better Pilot Sports 4S tires - I did not like the traction of the stock 18". Especially after Matt Crowley's experience at Laguna Seca.
 
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Think of what the Model 3 brakes are engineered to do for a second.

Probably 90% of the braking of the car during normal use is regen (if you don't drive like an idiot) so the stock pads need to have good bite when cold. Almost. Every. Single. Time. It's the exact opposite of a racing pad that are designed to operate in a much higher temperature range.

I'm a track rat, but anybody with any experience will know that Tesla made the right engineering decision when it comes to brake pads on this car. You don't design for the 1% you do it for the 99% and I'm getting a little tired of the bitching from the ill-informed that the brakes are somehow dangerous or poor. No they are not.

Do you want soccer Moms running into cars that pull out in front of them because the brakes pads aren't warmed up enough? How are the vast majority of Model 3s going to be used?

You clearly need to swap pads with this car before heading to the track. People need to stop blaming Tesla for their questionable decisions.
I perfectly acknowledge that I am not knowledgeable on brakes. Thanks for the information.

At the end of the day the braking numbers compared to other cars are just not that good.. that was my concern. I would argue that this is not an issue that impacts “the 1 percent”

I would be curious to compare my car with the sports wheels against a base new Accord or Altima.
 
I perfectly acknowledge that I am not knowledgeable on brakes. Thanks for the information.

At the end of the day the braking numbers compared to other cars are just not that good.. that was my concern. I would argue that this is not an issue that impacts “the 1 percent”

I would be curious to compare my car with the sports wheels against a base new Accord or Altima.
If you're concerned about braking distance you need to get "summer" tires (which you can run year round in SoCal!). Looks to me like the Model 3 has the same braking distance as a Nissan Altima (119 feet for the Model 3, 121 feet for the Altima). They both come with all season tires (AKA no season tires). Put a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S on your car and you will be much happier with the braking distance.
 
If you're concerned about braking distance you need to get "summer" tires (which you can run year round in SoCal!). Looks to me like the Model 3 has the same braking distance as a Nissan Altima (119 feet for the Model 3, 121 feet for the Altima). They both come with all season tires (AKA no season tires). Put a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S on your car and you will be much happier with the braking distance.

What he so aptly said....

and I'd like to add many of the high performance cars coming out now days have gumball tires (cough *GM and Porsche* cough) :pthat produce superb stopping distances. They have great brakes which resist fade on the track too, but the stellar braking test numbers have more to do with the tires as Daniel already mentioned.

Except for the overall weight, the Model 3 has the inherent characteristics for good braking: over half of its weight on the rear tires like a mid-engined car and a superbly low center of gravity with the tires pushed out to the corners of the chassis. This limits weight transfer so all 4 tires are more involved in the braking (one reason a Porsche 911 brakes so good). However, with LRR all season tires you aren't going to post up any numbers to right home about.
 
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Big Earl

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Jul 12, 2017
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woof

Fluffy Member
Supporting Member
Apr 30, 2009
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I took my Model 3 to an advanced driving class, where we did lots of "foot through the floor" braking, simulating emergency stops and lane changes. The Model 3 performed flawlessly. The brakes had a lovely burning smell, but no fade over the entire day. I've no doubt they will perform on the street, if and when I need them.
 

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