Tesla Model S Plaid gains Track Mode with torque-vectoring

Tesla has detailed its new Plaid Track Mode for the Model S Plaid which includes lateral torque vectoring and other software adjustments.

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Acting as a follow up to the Track Mode debuted in the Model 3 Performance during 2018, US electric vehicle (EV) automaker Tesla has now revealed Plaid Track Mode for its fastest Model S Plaid liftback.

Available as an update for North American Model S Plaid owners, Track Mode was developed to allow owners to take full advantage of the EV’s tri-motor, 761kW powertrain.

Tesla’s goals for Plaid Track Mode are to improve on the car’s production electric lap record at the Nurburgring by allowing more adjustability of the stability control, handling balance, and regenerative braking.

With Plaid Track Mode, Tesla has added a number of new features “to make the Model S Plaid as quick around a racetrack as it is at the drag strip”.

When the mode is engaged, the Model S Plaid lowers the temperature of both its battery and electric motors for optimal cooling in track conditions.

The car also increases its regenerative braking power which enables it to re-capture more energy during deceleration, and reduces load on the friction brakes for better thermal management.

Tesla says this increased regenerative braking “give[s] the driver better modulation and controllability with a single pedal”.

Built upon the same base as the Model 3 Track Mode, Plaid Track Mode has lateral torque vectoring by using the Model S Plaid’s dual rear electric motors.

This is said to help the Model S Plaid have a faster turn-in, increased cornering speed, and harder acceleration on corner exit.

The Vehicle Dynamics Controller (VDC) also evaluates steering angle, accelerator and brake pedal inputs to determine where the driver wants to place the car.

It’ll even allow tyre slippage to a certain degree, and can automatically adjust the torque split for improved agility during high-speed cornering.

Tesla says Model S Plaid owners are able to adjust all of these features independently based on their skill level and preferences.

MORE: Torque vectoring explained

When in Plaid Track Mode, the car’s adaptive suspension damping is optimised for track handling.

Always set in its ‘Low’ ride height setting, Plaid Track Mode is said to reduce pitch during hard braking and fast acceleration, rebalance damping to improve responsiveness, and have faster settling over bumpy segments.

Inside the Model S Plaid, this Plaid Track Mode update adds a track-focused user interface which displays a vehicle temperature monitor, lap timer, G-meter, dash cam video capture and vehicle telemetry, as well as a number of other customisable options.

Tesla says for the “ultimate track experience” it recommends pairing the Model S Plaid with the optional carbon ceramic brake kit.

Priced at US$20,000 (A$27,821) it brings 410 x 40mm front and 410 x 32mm rear silicon carbide brake rotors, with six-piston and four-piston rear calipers.

It’s also includes high-performance brake pads and high-temperature brake fluid.

Tesla is already well acquainted with the Green Hell.

In September 2021 it toppled the Porsche Taycan Turbo S with a regular Model S Plaid, setting a new production electric car record lap time of 7:30.909 at an average of 166.32km/h.

It’s also been previously spied in October 2021 with a modified version of its Model S with an articulating, active rear spoiler.

From what it seems, Tesla is trying to beat its own record before any other automaker can get to it.

In Australia, you are still able to pre-order a regular Model S or full-fat Model S Plaid for $350 but the Australian Tesla website no longer displays pricing or an estimated delivery date.

The same can be said for the Model X SUV, which is also available as a tri-motor Plaid variant, and can also be pre-ordered for $350.

MORE: Tesla Model S Plaid gains carbon ceramic brake option
MORE: Tesla claims electric Nurburgring lap record (with video)

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Jack Quick

Jack Quick is an emerging automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Jack recently graduated from Deakin University and has previously competed in dance nationally. In his spare time, Jack likes to listen to hyperpop and play Forza Horizon.

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