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Tesla Model 3 with mods achieves competitive lap with McLaren F1 on famous racetrack

A Tesla Model 3 modded by Unplugged Performance completed a super-fast lap time that is competitive with the McLaren F1’s best time on the famous Tsukuba Circuit.

We previously reported on Unplugged Performance (UP), which is one of a few aftermarket accessories and performance upgrade companies focused solely on Tesla vehicles.

They are also the company behind “Tesla Corsa,” a new Tesla-only race track experience where owners get to safely explore the limits and performance of their vehicles.

Last year, they unveiled a stunning Model 3 street-legal racing kit called the “Tesla Model 3 Ascension R.”

The vehicle features a long list of modifications:

  • Unplugged Performance Ascension Front Bumper
  • Unplugged Performance Ascension Carbon Side Skirts
  • Unplugged Performance Ascension Carbon Rear Bumper
  • Unplugged Performance Ascension Carbon Rear Diffuser Fins
  • Unplugged Performance by Voltex Carbon GT Wing
  • Unplugged Performance UP-04 Superlight Forged 20×10.5 Wheel Set with Michelin 305/30ZR20 Cup 2 Tires
  • Unplugged Performance Coilover Suspension Kit
  • Unplugged Performance 6 Piston 15.5 Inch Carbon Ceramic Big Brake Kit
  • Unplugged performance Billet Adjustable Front Upper Control Arms
  • Unplugged Performance 3 Way Adjustable Front and Rear Sway Bar Kit
  • Unplugged Performance Billet Adjustable Rear Camber Arms
  • Unplugged Performance Billet Adjustable Rear Toe Arms
  • Unplugged Performance Carbon Racing Bucket Seat Set (utilizing Tesla plaid design)
  • Unplugged Performance Seat Rail Set
  • Unplugged Performance by Willans Racing Harness Set
  • Unplugged Performance Superlight 64 Titanium Lugnuts
  • Unplugged Performance Competition Brake Pads
  • Unplugged Performance Sport Brake Lines

Those modifications have already been tested separately during some of the Tesla Corsa events, but now that they are all together on the same vehicle, it was time to put them to an even greater test.

Unplugged Performance brought the vehicle, which is owned by Erik Strait of the YouTube channel Daerik, to the Tokyo Auto Salon and also displayed it in front of the Tesla Service Center in Shinonome.

The design of the car has been well-received, but how does it do on the racetrack?

They brought the vehicle to the Tsukuba Circuit, which is a popular benchmarking location in Japan.

Unplugged Performance’s Tesla Model 3 Ascension R driven by Ken Negoro achieved a 1:04.7 lap time, which the company says is competitive with the McLaren F1’s best lap time  (1:04.6) at the track:

“The Unplugged Performance upgraded Tesla Model 3 posted a nearly identical lap time as the legendary McLaren F1’s best lap time at Tsukuba while on street tires in full daily driven trim. This was achieved with an amateur driver’s first Tesla driving experience in near freezing conditions and with only 20 laps to learn the car.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk described the McLaren F1 as his favorite car before Tesla. He used to own one before crashing the multi-million-dollar supercar without insurance.

Here are some other best lap times at Tsukuba for comparison:

  • Porsche 911 GT3 997: 1:04.8
  • Ferrari F40: 1:04.8
  • Audi R8 V10 5.2 FSI: 1:04.9
  • Lamborghini Gallardo: 1:05.0
  • Porsche 911 Turbo 997: 1:05.2

UP’s Model 3 also had a few things going against it, like the temperature, which was less than ideal, the fact that Negoro had no prior experience with Tesla vehicles, the track being somewhat busy that day, and driving on street tires in full daily driven trim.

Negoro also stated that in better conditions and with DOT legal semi-slick tires the car would likely be capable of a 1:01 to 1:02 lap time range.

Ben Schaffer, CEO of Unplugged Performance, wrote about the experience:

“The test day at Tsukuba circuit was done as a proof of concept to illustrate that UP’s Ascension-R upgraded Model 3s can perform at the level of world class supercars of any era, on any track, in nearly any weather condition and in a near effortless way in which a daily driven spec can drive to the track on autopilot, run with supercars and then drive back home. Future Unplugged Performance upgrades will build upon the foundation of vehicle upgrades on this car and will implement greater extremes of downforce and motorsports grip.”

Strait also posted a video of the experience on his YouTube channel:

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