The electric car lap time record at Laguna Seca International Raceway is changing hands like crazy this summer. On September 14, 2018, Cameron Rogers took a Tesla Model 3 w/ Performance Package to Laguna Seca, seeking to reclaim the lap time record he’d set earlier this summer. Subsequent to Rogers’ record during the REFUEL 10 event, Jaguar brought a pre-production I-Pace to set their own record, and then Lucid Motors brought a prototype car to Laguna Seca to set their own record. With a Performance Model 3, Cameron Rogers beat Jaguar’s lap time, but did not beat Lucid Motors lap time. That’s good enough to reclaim the lap time record for production electric cars, since no matter how impressive was Lucid’s lap time they did not use a production car.
In his YouTube video, Cameron Rogers explains:
Lap in an un-modified Tesla Model 3 Performance on 9-14-18. Model 3 Performance w/Performance Upgrade Package on stock Michelin Pilot Sport 4S and stock brake pads.
So.. this is a stock Tesla Model 3 Performance. When Rogers set his earlier record, it was with a rear wheel drive Model 3 (no performance package) and he made a few modifications, replacing the tires and brake pads as well as changes to the car settings. In other words, his earlier impressive record was diminished by not driving a stock Tesla Model 3.
There you have it, the Laguna Seca lap time record for production electric cars is now 1:46.8. He made all the corners (except the last) reasonably well, and he recorded an excellent lap time.
We should note Cameron Rogers is an amateur driver. No doubt a professional could do even better, and we wonder why Tesla Motors isn’t defending themselves on this front? Their mantra is that Tesla does not sell slow cars, so why not directly make proof? Laguna Seca is close enough to Tesla’s HQ to let them use it as a primary test track, and supposedly Rogers saw Tesla there testing with a Model X in Ludicrous mode.
This specific track has seen enough electric racing action over the years that the lap time record at Laguna Seca serves as a useful performance benchmark. This action includes not just the REFUEL race (10th anniversary held this summer), but the FIM e-Power electric motorcycle racing series held between 2010 to 2013 at Laguna Seca.
The history of the production electric car lap time record at Laguna Seca goes something like this:
Cameron Rogers, Tesla Model 3 Performance: As above – 1:46.8
Lucid Motors, prototype vehicle, August 2018: 1:41.67, and subsequently 1:39.30 after switching to “street legal racing tires”. The driver was probably David Lickfold.
Jaguar I-Pace HSE, production car, driven by pro driver Randy Pobst, July 2018: 1:48.18 … the HSE is the Performance edition of the I-Pace
Cameron Rogers, Tesla Model 3: 1:48.667 … This was during REFUEL 10, and several modifications were made
David Lickfold, Tesla Model S modified by Lucid Motors: 1:47.621 … This was also during REFUEL 10. Lickford works for Lucid Motors, and Lucid had made modifications to this car and instrumented it to record data.
The REFUEL 10 records also show Richard Hilleman with a 1:36.715 lap time. As impressive as that is, he was driving a full on race car, not street legal in the slightest, not production, etc. Hence this is an interesting and impressive data point, but is not part of the comparison here since we are focused on lap time records for regular cars.
Prior to this year the competition for fastest Laguna Seca lap time with a production electric car was primarily in the hands of Joe Nuxoll. He is a software engineer and semi-pro race car driver. With a borrowed Tesla Roadster using racing tires the fastest time he achieved was 1 min 48.935 secs in 2013. To many groans on Nuxolls part, Aaron Bailey that same year achieved a 1 min 48.917 secs time, edging out Nuxoll by about .02 seconds, with a Tesla Model S.
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