Even When Tesla Wins, It Can Still Lose

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On Sunday, a Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) Model 3 turned in the second-fastest time in a Global Time Attack Super Lap at Buttonwillow Raceway in southern California, near Bakersfield. While standing on the podium awaiting his award, owner-driver Cameron Rogers was disqualified following a complaint from the second-place finisher.

The complaint, according to Electrek: “Electricity is not listed as an approved fuel.”

The Model 3 Rogers drove was the Performance model updated with the latest “track” mode software. His best time was just a hair over two minutes, good enough for second place in the enthusiasts’ all-wheel drive competition. Another driver pushed the same car to a time just under two minutes, although he was not an official competitor.

The headline feature of the Model 3’s track mode is disabling traction control in the all-wheel drive vehicle and setting the electric motors to enable drift and improve cornering. A less noticed feature was the one that proved most useful, however.

Model 3’s track mode includes a race-oriented cooling system that allows the Model 3 to take many runs on the track at high speed without having to use the low-power mode to cool the powertrain.

As Fred Lambert of Electrek notes, “It’s not that big of a deal and if anything, it’s funnier than anything else.” Lambert also notes that whining about the electric powertrain did nothing but give Cameron Rogers an opportunity to give a shout out to an electric car future.

Tesla plans to upgrade the Model 3 Performance vehicles.