Tesla is rolling out Plaid Track Mode to Model S Plaid vehicles across North America.
As stated by Tesla: “With Plaid Track Mode our goals were simple: achieve the quickest lap time for a production electric vehicle at Germany’s Nürburgring, and allow individual adjustability of stability control, handling balance and regenerative braking to give drivers more authority over vehicle control at the racetrack.”
Plaid Track Mode was developed to take full advantage of Tesla’s tri-motor platform and more than 1,000 horsepower on tap, with features including:
Optimized Powertrain Cooling
Track driving generates an enormous amount of heat in the battery, motors, and brakes. Maximum track endurance is achieved by managing this heat to keep these components as cool as possible.
When Plaid Track Mode is engaged, the temperature of the battery pack and motor is dropped to create a significant amount of chilled thermal mass. Once track driving begins and heat is generated, shared coolant loops between the battery and motors keep the entire system cooler for longer.
Regenerative braking power is increased, which has three major benefits: re-capture more energy during deceleration, reducing the load on the friction brakes for better thermal management and giving the driver better modulation and controllability with a single pedal.
Lateral Torque Vectoring
Using the same foundation as Model 3 Track Mode, Plaid Track Mode relies heavily on front and rear motors to command rotation: additional torque applied to the rear axle helps turn the nose of the car into a corner; torque applied to the front axle arrests rotation to pull the car straight.
Building on this principle, Model S Plaid’s dual rear motors enable full lateral torque vectoring. With Track Mode activated, Plaid automatically adjusts torque split across the rear wheels, independently, which applies a torque bias to rotate the car through turns; this increases turn-in response, improves on-center steering feel, and delivers even greater yaw control throughout a corner.
Compared to traditional open- and limited-slip differentials, which must always compete between turn-in response and maximum traction, the electric motors adjust in milliseconds to give the driver both qualities simultaneously, allowing for faster turn-in, increased cornering speeds, and harder acceleration on corner exit.
Adjustable Vehicle Dynamics
During normal road driving, the stability control systems are optimized to limit tire slippage and maximize grip to keep the driver safe.
In Plaid Track Mode, stability controls enter a Race tuning to give the driver maximum control over the car’s lateral movement. With Plaid Track Mode engaged, Tesla’s Vehicle Dynamics Controller (VDC) evaluates steering angle, accelerator, and brake pedal inputs to determine where the driver wants to place the car and will permit tire slippage and automatically adjust torque split to give the driver even more authority and improved agility during high-speed cornering.
For drivers who want additional adjustability over vehicle dynamics, handling balance, stability assist and regenerative braking can be changed independently based on their skill level and preferences.
Adaptive Suspension Damping
When Plaid Track Mode is engaged, adaptive suspension damping is optimized for track handling: reduced pitch during hard braking and fast acceleration, rebalanced damping to improve responsiveness, and faster settling of vehicle disturbances over bumpy segments to increase driver confidence. To facilitate consistent dynamic driving, ride height is set to Low on drive-off, and the suspension will no longer automatically raise to improve comfort.
Engineers have added a track-focused user interface to provide critical performance data, including a vehicle thermals monitor, lap timer, G-meter, dashcam video capture and vehicle telemetry, along with several other customizable options.
With Plaid Track Mode, a host of new features have been included to make Model S Plaid as quick around a racetrack as it is at the drag strip. The approach focuses on allowing greater driver control and adjustability while promoting driver confidence, and like most aspects of Tesla vehicles, we’ll continue to improve Plaid Track Mode over time with future over-the-air updates.