48 hours after the shocking crash of the Unplugged Performance Tesla Model 3 at Pikes Peak, the car was back to the track one more time. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the Unplugged team and the Tesla engineers who came to help in this crucial moment.
The sub-frames of the car were bent and it was almost declared ‘totaled’ — but if there’s a will, there is always a way. A new Tesla Model 3 Performance was purchased to retrofit the sub-frames, motors, and other parts.
Tesla also rushed to cooperate in this effort by providing parts within hours of requirements from the car’s resurrection team.
Our friend Sofiaan Fraval from the Third Row Podcast covered the entire event with his camera and kept the Tesla Community in the loop. He took us inside the Eurocars workshop in the following video when the team was prepping the new glass roof for the tuned Model 3.
The Tesla Community also helped the team working on the CORSA 42 Unplugged Performance Tesla Model 3 at the workshop. They supported the team by giving moral support in person, on social media, and even sending meals for the team to keep their energy levels up and running.
Here are a few photographs of the Unplugged team working on the Tesla Model 3 resurrection for its next and final run on the Pikes Peak for this year.
As we showed in the first part of this story, one wheel of this Model 3 was totally damaged, and probably the other ones also weren’t in their perfect shape. So Unplugged Performance brought in a new set of Forged Monoblock Made-for-Tesla wheels.
Legendary pro racing car driver Randy Pobst is the one piloting this ultra-tuned electric beast of a vehicle.
The night before the Race Day, Randy test drove the newly rebuilt Unplugged Tesla Model 3 at the local airport, he thought the car was ready for the Pikes Peak hill climb.
He talks about the re-building of the totaled Tesla Model 3 Performance in record time in the following video before attempting the final run on Pikes Peak. He calls this heroic vehicle restoration effort the ‘Teslurrection’.
The Race Day
Randy started the race with the utmost enthusiasm that is required to accomplish such feat as the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. As the Model 3 reached higher altitude, he felt something was not right.
The battery pack temperature of the car was rising beyond what is considered normal in these conditions. The Tesla safety algorithm kicked in and slowed down the vehicle to protect the battery pack.
This was perhaps a broken coolant tube or other damage in the battery pack of the car from the previous crash that went undetected in the restoration process.
However, Unplugged Performance is still investigating the actual cause of this battery pack overheating. This problem in the heat management system restricted the car’s peak power to a meager 240hp that is even lower than a Standard Range Plus Model 3.
The dream of completing the Pikes Peak hill climb lap in less than 10 mins wasn’t achieved. But still, it was a great adventure and the Tesla Community around the world is proud of the efforts of everyone involved.
The 2020 Unplugged Performance Tesla Model 3 Ascension-R completed the Pikes Peak lap in 11:04.131 — just behind a 2018 Tesla Model 3 which did it in 11:02.802 in the Exhibition category (full results PDF below).
What Went Wrong
As of this writing, Unplugged Performance released the following side-by-side comparison video of their qualifying vs Race Day runs — the results show that at least 230hp of the power was missing.
The Unplugged team also posted its analysis in the video description as:
A week has gone by and we still do not know the causation of our casual Sunday drive on race day, but we at least now clearly know the problem. We ran the full race in limp mode! Our 11:04 run was with a power limit of 180kw for 10 of the 11 minutes. That’s 240hp peak power for almost the entire race…basically half of what the car should be outputting. We would have had more power in a Standard Range Model 3!
In the video, you’ll see that even despite a full battery state of charge, our power was lower right off of the line. Then something even more strange happened, the battery went directly to bright red and severe power cut at just under a minute (the display is visible in our other video). After that 180kw / 240hp was all the power the car could give us for the full race. Randy Pobst described the race as a tourist drive and that he had time to admire the scenery as the car gracefully, albeit slowly, escorted him to the summit.
In the end, we celebrated overcoming the extreme odds. It was still a victory for us. Just a much more leisurely pace to the top than we all expected.Source: Unplugged Performance / YouTube.
Still, the race and all the mission-critical stuff was an exciting joyride and this is just the beginning of what emission-free electric vehicles can achieve in the future. Let’s watch the in-car video of the final Race Day attempt and:
* A big shoutout to Sofiaan Fraval for giving his input for clarity and accuracy of info.
Randy Pobst interview with Ryan McCaffery on Ride The Lightning podcast
Randy also discussed the resurrection and race day story with Ryan McCaffrey on his popular podcast show, worth listening.