Novice Track Time at BIR

I did something I have never done before:

I took my car to Brainerd International Raceway for a High Performance Driver Education event with the BMW CCA North Star chapter.

I drove on a track. I drove relatively fast.

I had a fantastic time! It was a blast, I learned a ton, and pushed myself into a new mental and physical challenge. I am going to go again and see if the addiction sticks.

I had 3 different issues over the weekend:

  • acceleration above 70MPH was lackluster
  • regen braking above 60MPH was lackluster
  • front motor disabled dialog Saturday night ~3 hours after being off track
  • front motor disabled dialog Sunday morning before supercharging and first track session

These lackluster experiences really felt like I was driving a normal Model 3 when you are expecting what track mode offers in terms of performance. This is just an observation and not meant as a knock on the other trim/power levels. Need proof? Come drive my car.

I reported the issues of front motor disabled to Tesla Roadside and they said they would send off logs to my local service center. After I arrived on track I got a hand in doing something called a 12v reset which involves disconnecting the high-voltage battery and the 12v for at least 15 minutes to reset the system. This did reset the error dialog and was able to drive the rest of the day not counting the performance issues mentioned above. On Tuesday morning I typed up a long and detailed message to the local service center with 2, shorter followup messages. Yesterday, June 6th 2019, I installed firmware 2019.16.3.2 and was told this fixes the problem with 2019.16.2. I will have to get out there for testing and I am hopeful it has fixed the issues.

On another note: I did screw up for my first session as I forgot to turn on track mode and didn’t notice until I was coming off track. I was so very excited.

Saturday – Second session: I noticed right away the issue of acceleration and regeneration braking was very off. From stop or 30-40MPH both were acceptable but not at speed. This caused a lot of brake usage by me, and my friend/instructor, Tim, actually had brake fade and warnings (brake heat dialogs) on the screen.

I was able to run all 5 25-minute sessions on Saturday and I did supercharge during lunch. There was a NEMA 14-50 near by so I started parking the car over there to let the brakes cool and when that happened to plug in and get some electrons to keep the vehicle above 55% state of charge. It worked quite a novice who isn’t pushing the car to its capabilities.

I had not warned him before he drove it prior to the end of the day on Sunday. I did not do this to troll him, this time, but I wanted independent reporting and, of course, he noticed. We talked. I thanked him.


I made a playlist that I have posted here of 6 videos – 3 short clipped versions and 3 full length versions of Sunday sessions (2 and 3 for me, 1 with Tim driving).

My track times are not impressive and are actually as expected after I ran my 2nd session. I was more interested in following the line than going fast but at the same time there was this Corvette..but keeping up was pushing my inexperienced limits and I would back off.

The evaluation I received from my instructor was spot on. We discussed my faults and errors, he provided feedback while we were on the track, and we spent time debriefing after each session. The last 2 sessions I ran on Sunday I was calling out my mistakes, errors, and what correction I was doing for the next lap.

Tim’s track times were far worse than he expected but see above for the performance issue. This doesn’t mean he was negative on things :)

While I already had the basics of this type of driving I did not have any experience of driving at these speeds on any type of track.

The words.. easy to memorize, easy to understand (dictionary meaning) while being a huge challenge to actually execute the moves correct.

I absolutely loved it!

It was far more than driving fast – that isn’t really a challenge – but trying to drive technically within my own limits and on the line with how it should be done was hard. It was, as predicted by that Tim guy, mentally exhausting. What I did not expect was how physically exhausting it would be to hold myself in the seat with standard, 3-point, seatbelts. I have been home since Monday afternoon and my core is still sore and the muscle on the top and outside of my left leg still cramps up here and there. Last night I couldn’t even laugh without my ribcage hurting which causes more laughing and more pain. Well earned I say.

That should be enough for today. Thanks for reading.

Photos and link to album