The smallest member of the Tesla family lapped the famous circuit nearly a full second faster.
Last year, Tesla set impressive lap time records at Laguna Seca and the Nurburgring with a heavily modified Model S “Plaid” prototype, but a new Model 3 project from Unplugged Performance (UP) just broke one of those records in a big way. The SoCal Tesla tuning shop was testing its modified Model 3 as part of a warm-up to this year’s Pikes Peak, and accidentally ended up setting the four-door vehicle fastest lap record at Laguna Seca in the process.
Ben Schaffer, UP’s founder and CEO, told The Drive that the car went from a new delivery to the record-setting laps in under two weeks. He said there was no driving in between building and testing it on the track, which was done to help validate the quality and calibration of the Tesla parts that his company sells as bolt-ons.
With test driver Randy Pobst behind the wheel, the UP-tuned Model 3 lapped Laguna Seca in just 1:35.79. That’s almost a full second faster than Tesla’s own Model S Plaid, which set the fastest lap record for four-door vehicles at the track in 2019 with a lap time of 1:36.55. It’s worth noting that the Plaid model that set the previous record was a prototype Tesla used to develop the reportedly-incoming Plaid variant, but not a final production unit.
Schaffer said that they were only trying to give the car a thorough shakedown to test safety equipment for its upcoming Pikes Peak run, and noted that everyone was shocked when Pobst put down the heat.