A Tesla Model 3 Performance has set an incredible lap time at Tsukuba.
Last month, a Tesla made headlines once again when a Model 3 set an astonishing lap time at the Tsukuba Circuit in Japan. Clocking a time of 1:04.7, the Model 3 raced around the twisty Japanese circuit just a tenth of a second slower than the McLaren F1. If that wasn't already impressive, the Tesla Model 3 Performance recently returned to the track and set a new fastest lap time of 1:03.3, beating the McLaren F1 by 1.3 seconds.
As you've probably guessed by now, the car used wasn't a stock Tesla Model 3, but it's still an impressive feat as the car that set the blistering time used street settings, and was not specifically tuned for the track and used factory tires from a Porsche 911 GT3 RS. The driver that set the fastest lap time isn't even used to driving electric cars.
The Model 3 Performance that beat the McLaren F1's lap time was extensively modified by Unplugged Performance. Dubbed the Tesla Model 3 Ascension R, the tuned electric sedan debuted at the 2019 SEMA show before being showcased at this year's Tokyo Auto Salon.
Compared to the standard Model 3, the Ascension R is upgraded with a an adjustable coilover suspension kit, massive six-piston, 15.5-inch uprated brakes and numerous carbon fiber components including side skirts, a rear diffuser, a carbon rear bumper, and a massive rear wing. While the lap time is already impressive, Unplugged Performance believes the Ascension R can set an even faster time at Tsukuba without any additional upgrades.
In better weather conditions, the modified Model 3 could potentially lap the circuit in 1:02.5 or 1:01 with semi-slick DOT legal tires measuring the same width according to the tuner. With a stripped out interior and racing slicks, Unplugged Performance thinks the Ascension R can set a time of just 0:59.
Tesla's upcoming Track Mode V2 update could also shave an additional one or two seconds thanks to reduced traction control interference. In the meantime, Unplugged Performance will continually improve the Ascension R with new aerodynamic components that will increase downforce and reduce weight.