Tesla on Thursday announced a Track Mode for the Model S Plaid that adds torque vectoring, improved cooling, and more aggressive suspension settings.
Rolling out to cars in North America this week, Track Mode was developed to aid the Model S in achieving its EV lap record for production cars at Germany's Nürburgring, Tesla said in a blog post. The automaker set that record in 2021 with a 7:35 lap time.
One area of improvement is cooling. Tesla said Track Mode will lower the temperature of the battery pack and motors before setting off, generating a chilled thermal mass that can help keep everything cooler for longer.
Tesla Model S Plaid specs
Track Mode also increases the amount of regenerative braking, which can also help with cooling by reducing the load on the friction brakes, Tesla noted. Car and Driver found that the Plaid's brakes overheated quickly in the magazine's standard testing regimen, which staffers noted isn't as severe as a track day. That's not something you want in a 1,020-horsepower car.
Another addition is rear-axle torque vectoring, achieved by adjusting the torque split between the tri-motor Plaid powertrain's two rear motors. Tesla also retuned the suspension to reduce pitch under hard braking or acceleration, and to keep the car more settled generally. Track Mode defaults to the Low ride height, and locks out the feature that raises the ride height under certain circumstances in other drive modes.
Drivers also get a little more leeway from the electronic aids. Track Mode includes a more aggressive setting for the vehicle dynamics controller, and allows drivers to individually adjust the stability control and regenerative braking settings.
Tesla Model S Plaid Track Mode
Track Mode also gets a special instrument cluster screen setup, which includes vehicle thermals monitor, lap timer, and g-meter, as well as the ability to record dash cam footage and telemetry.
The Plaid was introduced as part of a Model S revamp that improved efficiency and modernized the in-car interface, but also included a controversial steering yoke. Tesla has claimed the Plaid to be the quickest production car ever, quoting a 0-60 mph time of under 2.0 seconds. Jay Leno also piloted one to a 9.24-second quarter-mile time on his "Jay Leno's Garage" show.
However, an even more powerful Plaid+ version with a claimed 520-mile range has been cancelled. Meanwhile, the Lucid Air has already started deliveries with 520 miles of EPA-rated range. And the Plaid may have some direct competition soon as there's a tri-motor version of the Air on the way.