Drag Racing Model S Model X News Videos

Tesla engineer explains how the Drag Strip Mode feature on a Model S/X Plaid works (video)

Tesla takes production car drag racing performance to the next level


Tesla’s electric vehicles have changed the entire scenario of the drag racing arena. First with Ludicrous Mode and then adding the Cheetah Stance — but there was something still missing.

With the launch of the design-refreshed Model S Plaid, came the Drag Strip Mode. Amping up Ludicrous Mode, mating it with the Cheetah Stance (lowering the front of the car with smart air suspension before the launch), adding the heat pump cooling system, and fine-tuning the software technology gave birth to Tesla’s proprietary Drag Strip Mode feature.

In an official video, Chris, a Tesla engineer from the automaker’s Performance Engineering team explained how Drag Strip Mode works. The video (watch below), also includes some stunning visuals of the car doing 0-60 mph in around 2 seconds at a dragstrip.

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“In Drag Strip Mode, the first thing it does is you can hear the cooling fans running in the background. It cools the drive units as much as possible because they make the most power when they’re coolest. In addition to that we warm the battery pack up just a little bit, just to get it into its optimum range for performance, ” Chris explained how a Tesla Plaid vehicle prepares to deliver peak acceleration off the line.

“Then when you pull up to the line, we have what’s called Cheetah Stance where you hold your foot firmly on the brake and then you stand on the gas pedal and the car will enter launch mode,” Tesla engineer further explained how to prep the car for a launch at a dragstrip.

By lowering the front of the vehicle in Cheetah Stance, the front axle traction is optimized by reducing ground clearance. If the wheels are not lowered, the front of the car might lift up in such extreme acceleration during launch and the car can lose traction at the front. So, it holds the car down as the driver accelerates across the dragstrip and provides a better grip all the way from 0-60 mph in as low as 1.99 seconds.


Drag Strip Mode is only available on the flagship Tesla Model S and Model X Plaid vehicles. The owner’s manual for these vehicles explains the following

Tesla Model S Plaid especially has turned the drag racing scene upside down with its acceleration and consistent quarter-mile times even at a low state of charge (SoC).

Model S Plaid has even been kicked out of dragstrips in the past for being too fast. For 0-60 times in under 2 seconds, some dragstrips require the car to have a parachute to bring it to a complete stop but Plaid does not need it.

How to Launch Model S/X Plaid in Drag Strip Mode

The Tesla Model S/X owner’s manual explains how to enable Drag Strip Mode and launch the vehicle using the following instructions.

The touchscreen provides visual instructions on how to launch:

  1. Touch Controls > Pedals & Steering > Drag Strip Mode
  2. Wait for the instrument panel to indicate that the vehicle is Peak Performance Ready.
  3. With Model S shifted into Drive and at a complete stop, firmly hold the brake pedal with your left foot, then fully press the accelerator pedal.
  4. Once step 3 is complete, the front suspension begins lowering into a “cheetah stance”.
    Note: Suspension lowering for “cheetah stance” significantly reduces ground clearance.
  5. Wait for the instrument panel to indicate that Drag Strip Mode is Ready to Launch.
  6. Once you see “Cheetah Stance Enabled” and “Ready to launch” on the instrument panel, release the brake pedal to launch the vehicle.

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Video: Chris, from the Tesla Performance Engineering team, explains how Drag Strip Mode works.

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By Iqtidar Ali

Iqtidar has been writing about Tesla, Elon Musk, and EVs for more than 3 years on, many of his articles have been republished on CleanTechnica and InsideEVs, maintains a healthy relationship with the Tesla community across the Social Media sphere. You can reach him on Twitter @IqtidarAlii

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