Tesla Model 3 owner and autocross racer Dean Rhodes told Grassroots Motorsports that he was tired of hearing that electric cars can’t withstand hard driving. So, he stepped up and started racing with an EV. His experience provides some interesting perspective on performance driving electric cars.
We’ve seen a few takes on the Tesla Model 3’s limits, in terms of range and performance being tested, but this quick look at how the car holds up under hard use in autocross racing seems to give us a good sense of what the car’s like to drive in maximum-attack mode.
The fact that Rhodes has apparently also autocrossed a Mazda 3 and Honda S2000, over eight years in the sport, gives him a solid basis for comparison between the Tesla and other cars you might see in this scene more commonly.
Rhodes’ Tesla appears to be pretty much stock, aside from a set of wheels and tires. As for what it’s like to drive, if you can’t make it through the three-minute video, he says:
“It’s like you take a Corvette, Mazda3 and a Subaru WRX, And twisted up in a pot, and it can be any one of those characteristics at any time... It’s probably the most fun I ever had autocrossing.”
So, he gives the car high praise as a parking lot racing vehicle. I think he’s trying to articulate that the car feels both planted and powerful, which makes sense given its output and weight distribution.
If you’re thinking of autocrossing an EV yourself, Rhodes has a tip: don’t start with a full battery, because you lose the benefit of regenerative braking if the battery is full. At least, that’s what appears to be the case with his Tesla.
I’m a huge fan of the electric car community merging with other car communities. I think it’s great that EVs are starting to move mainstream and entertain enthusiasts like we’re seeing here. Hopefully Rhodes keeps competing, and maybe we can check in on him after a year of racing the thing to see how it holds up.
Hat tip to Nick!