Tesla has revealed a new Track Package for the Model S. We’ve got all the details, as well as some behind the wheel experience
- New Track Package optimises Model S for use on circuit
- Package also adds new alloy wheels and tyres
- Build ons existing carbon-ceramic brakes and Track Mode
- Uprated brakes unlock 200mph top speed
- Fitted to updated Model S, which is coming to the UK soon
- We’ve been behind the wheel on track
The package combines new lightweight alloy wheels, sticky track-focused tyres (which are not yet road legal in Europe), carbon ceramic brakes and new software that optimises the car’s power delivery to make it more fun and capable during track driving.
All of this is available on the new Tesla Model S Plaid, which recently went on sale in mainland Europe and will come to the UK, although the American firm is yet to reveal a timeline.
Tesla also told us that the Track Package would cost £16,310 in the UK, though as it’s not yet on the configurator, that could change.
What’s included in the Tesla Model S Track Package?
Tesla says it wanted to make the Model S ‘a true track monster’ with this new package, and while the changes aren’t particularly expansive, the few updates you do get make a big difference.
The first thing to look at is the carbon ceramic brake pack, which is included as part of the Track Package but has been available as an stand-alone optional extra for the new Model S. When fitted, they automatically unlock a new 200mph top speed.
Tesla says a new construction for the discs helps dissipate heat more effectively for repeatable on-track performance, but also offers improved cold friction and less noise, which is beneficial for road driving.
You get six-piston callipers up front and four-piston at the rear, as well as a high-temperature brake fluid, which also helps when repeatedly braking hard on track.
A new alloy wheel design is also included. Called Zero-G, they are 20 inches and lighter than the existing options, being made from forged aluminium. These are wrapped in a new Goodyear Supercar 3R tyre that has been specifically designed to be grippy for improved performance on track. The rears are a bit wider than the fronts.
However, although this tyre has been certified for road use in America, it is not yet road legal in Europe. Tesla’s answer is that if you fold the rear seats flat in a Model S, you can fit four wheels and tyres in there, so you can drive to the track with your normal wheels and swap them out for the track session.
Finally, the existing Track Mode has the latest software. This mode changes how the power is delivered to the wheels for more agility and fun on circuit, but also tweaks the regenerative braking and cooling systems for optimal performance at high speeds.
It also unlocks a top speed of 174mph if you don’t have the carbon ceramic brakes fitted. Outside of Track Mode the top speed is 163mph, or 200mph with those fancy brakes.
Want some but not all? You can get the brake kit on its own, or the wheels and tyres in a separate bundle.
What’s the Track Package like to drive?
All those facts and figures make for interesting reading, but what’s it like to drive? Well, carwow got behind the wheel at Circuit Paul Ricard to put it to the test, and we were incredibly impressed.
We already knew the Model S Plaid had ridiculous performance, but now it feels like this large executive saloon is better placed to make the most of it. The brakes are the most impressive thing, because they rein in all that weight from very high speeds with incredible efficiency. The first time you stamp on the brakes you’re thrown forward as you’re just not expecting such massive stopping power from a luxury limo.
More impressively, the feel of the brake pedal is more like a traditional sports car than a big comfy EV. Just firm, well-judged pedal travel with no regen weirdness to confuse matters. What those engineers have achieved is genuinely brilliant.
Track Mode is clever too, allowing you to drive for longer without cooking the batteries. And the fact you can adjust the power to be more front- or rear-biassed means you can make it handle how you want. (Or do big skids, naturally.)
Grippy tyres are the icing on the cake, giving the Model S surprisingly sharp handling. Nothing can hide the fact it’s a big heavy car in corners, though, so occasionally the aggressive turn in would give you too much confidence, so you’d carry too much speed and start to wash wide mid-corner, forcing you to pull back. Still, once you get tuned in it’s genuinely impressive.
All is well and good, then. Well, the thing is, we’re not totally sure you need the full Track Package. We tried the Model S with its regular tyres and alloys and it was still good fun, even if you could feel it had less grip and couldn’t carry so much speed in a corner. So unless you’re chasing lap times and can justify the hassle of having to swap them on and off for driving to and from the track, it might not be worth it.
Brakes, though? Absolutely worth it. You still get your Track Mode and your looney top speed, but now you have more stopping power, and the pedal feels very satisfying to use. This thing has about 1,000hp, and it feels like it, too. Big brakes are a must.
A caveat to that verdict is the price. At about £16,000 the Track Package is not cheap, but the carbon brakes are a $20,000 option in America. That’s about £16,000 on its own, so if you get the lightweight wheels and sticky tyres thrown in for not much extra cash, it could be a good deal.
One recommendation? The Track Package could do with some bucket seats. With that much power and grip you get rather thrown around the cabin… it’s a core workout if nothing else!
Like the sound of the new Model S? Check out our Tesla deals page to see the latest offers on these high-tech electric cars, or browse an extensive stock of used Teslas. Looking to sell your current car? Well, carwow can help with that too.