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Tesla Model 3, S become first EVs to complete One Lap of America rally event

Tesla Model 3, S become first EVs to complete One Lap of America rally event

A Tesla Model 3 Performance and Model S P100D became the first all-electric vehicles to compete in the Tire Rack One Lap America road rally event, completing 18 track races at 9 locations for a total of about 3,500 miles over seven days.
Thanks to Tesla’s vast Supercharger Network, the built-in performance features of their cars, and some great planning, both teams finished successfully and even took home a few wins. This year’s event took place from May 3rd through the 11th, marking its 36th year running.



Driving the Model 3 Performance was Team Panel Gap Racing (PGR) with Andrew Dekoning and Chad Martin behind the wheel. Andrew previously took part in the 2006 One Lap driving a Mazda RX-7, and as a veteran of the event and Tesla enthusiast, he knew there were advantages the Model 3 had that would make it competitive against other gas-powered vehicles.

“We had a few things that made us think this year was the year for a Tesla. #1 is that no one has ever completed the One Lap in an electric car, and we thought with the introduction of the Model 3 that it was possible,” he told us while the team was on the road. “With a performance model and Track Mode, it would actually be a pretty good car. This event is part road rally, part transit, and part on-track competition – the best cars excel at all three.”
The Tire Rack One Lap of America road rally event’s history dates back to the Cannonball Run, a not-quite-legal American highway race from New York City to Redondo Beach, California. It was created by Brock Yates, former senior editor of Car and Driver Magazine, to prove the point that competent, well-trained drivers could safely compete on highways while having a good time reminiscent of barnstorm piloting days. After a few revisions, One Lap was eventually organized into the format it has today. Drivers travel to nine places located in several different states to compete at 18 timed track events including time trials, skid pads, and drag races.

To meet their battery power needs, Team PGR used 27 Superchargers and 22 plug-ins either at the track or hotels they stayed at for a total of 1,500 kWh used to complete the event. Along with the availability of Superchargers and other power sources, the Model 3’s Track Mode gave the team a competitive edge.

“Without Track Mode we likely wouldn’t have made the attempt,” Andrew explained. “We had faith from the development story with Randy Pobst that they had the feature dialed in fairly well…Track Mode (and AWD) allow you to turn with the accelerator which is a fun new challenge and very fast when done right.”

Only minimal aftermarket swaps were made to Team PGR’s midsize sedan before taking on the One Lap challenge to keep the car within “Stock” class requirements. They upgraded the Model 3’s front brake pads and rotors with Racing Brake parts, used racing brake fluid, and opted for Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. Aftermarket rear brake pads weren’t available, however, and the stock versions used on the car melted during one of the time trials.

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