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Taking the Model S on a track

Discussion in 'California' started by metafor, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. metafor

    metafor Member

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    Portland, OR
    Just to preface: I've never raced before. My last car was a Prius and I drove like a grandma.

    That being said, with my new P85, I'm looking to push it a bit and am curious about circuits/racetracks around the SF bay area that I can take it to. Moreover, I'm interested in whether there are lessons to teach people to drive fast and safely as I'm most definitely an amateur.

    Do any professional racers visit this forum? Any advice on places to take the car to and/or find a trainer?
     
  2. Zextraterrestrial

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    #2 Zextraterrestrial, Jul 14, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2013
    Ask Leilani M!

    I've autocrossed my S for 5 days. Fun as hell and I'm getting a bit better. I did a race driving school for 1 day and then 5 days of autocross. Each day of auto x I get a little closer to the top time! I don't think I'll beat the top driver/car in my S with the 245/275s but I might get close. (check my sig thread for vids)
    TC off is better and oddly, I like the comfort steering for auto X

    Have fun

    De Anza used to hold an auto X event, not sure when it is though.
     
  3. metafor

    metafor Member

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    Thanks! Just curious, where did you go for race driving school? I wouldn't mind someone sitting beside me and walking me through everything.
     
  4. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Check out your local chapter of the BMW Club of America.
     
  5. Calisun

    Calisun Member

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    #5 Calisun, Jul 15, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2013
    There are a few options for the Bay Area, all involve some driving to and from the track unfortunatly.

    The closest track is Infineon (formerly known as Sears point) which is just north of SF. I don't reccomend this track though because it has many walls right on the edge of the track so a mistake could be VERY expensive.

    Laguna Seca is a famous track and not too far away in between Salinas and Monterey. It has less walls than Infineon but with an instructor it is unlikely you'll have to worry about anything as you won't be pushing the car. This track has the Gilroy supercharger on the way as well as the HPWC at the Rabobank in Salinas but there are no charging facilities at the track. I mailed them and asked and they don't have plans to install any right now, the chargers for ReFuel are setup just for the day.

    Thunderhill Raceway is a great beginner track with no walls and just nice open field in case you have an incident and go off track. The downside is it is in Willows, north of Sacramanto on I5. They have some 240 plugs that they are happy to let you use, I told the CEO about the supercharger site form on the Tesla site and they said they are going to sumbit an application.

    Each of the venues rent days to clubs that hold the events. The top two for the area are Hooked on Driving (hookedondriving.com) and NCRC (ncracing.org) they offer beginer sessions that you can get instructors for. This is a great way to get some time on the track that is safe and fun. The main obstacle right now is charging, doing laps at speed will eat the battery so carful planning is needed to get to a charger for the way home.

    The other thing to be aware of is the Tesla wasn't designed as a track car so there are overheating issues that will reduce the power. This means you might get a decent lap or two in but then you'll need to get out of people's way and let the car cool. It's not anything that would hurt the car but less than ideal when you get to make the most of only a small part of each 20 minute session.

    Hope that helps!
     
  6. metafor

    metafor Member

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    Thanks! I was actually considering taking a lesson in a car the school provides first. That way I can at least have some miles on the track under my belt (and know the turns) before I take my S there. Are those two racing schools still recommended for that? I looked at Skip Barber (Laguna Seca) and Simraceway and it seems the later has classes that don't require 3-4 months advanced registration.
     
  7. Calisun

    Calisun Member

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    You're welcome. No, both those organizations have you use your own car. For a true driving school Skip Barber is the big one. Another alternative is Mercedes runs an AMG Academy at Laguna that teaches car control. It has auto cross, skid pad, braking control, and track lapping. I think it runs around $1200 for the day course.

    I've not been with Hooked on Driving but NCRC has Driver School where they have classroom session then a 50 mph session of follow the leader. It lets you learn the track, what the racing line is, and gets you used to passing cars. It is really mellow. Once that is done there is another classroom debrief to talk about the session and then a slightly faster follow the leader. In the afternoon they open the sessions up for free driving.
     
  8. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    For what it's worth, I contacted Hallett Raceway in Jennings, OK and they do have several NEMA 14-50 RV outlets available for use at the track and were very open to having the Tesla there to use them. Have a few doctor friends interested in renting the track to run their expensive cars on and thought I'd join them, even though my lowly S85 will be way out classed.

    Hallett Motor Racing Circuit
    59901 E. 55 Road
    Jennings, OK 74038
    (918) 585-1900 office (weekdays)
    (918) 356-4814 track (weekends)
     

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