Tesla owners ready for track day as Tesla Corsa expands its racing community

Tesla Corsa is back for its third Tesla-only racetrack experience on Sunday, March 31 at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in California. Having completed two successful track events this past January and October, the Tesla Corsa looks to fill a few remaining open slots that would give Tesla owners the opportunity to experience the all-electric performance benefits of their vehicles in a safe, controlled environment.

Tesla owners looking to have some fun on the track will be matched by driving experience and also by their vehicle’s power and handling characteristics. The event encourages Roadster, Model S, Model X, and Model 3 owners to fully enjoy the unique track experience while providing a sense of community and platform for exchanging tips and techniques.

“This is a scenario where it’s a lot easier for drivers from a safety perspective, but also a lot easier for drivers to learn from each other, compare notes, and improve their driving,” Unplugged Performance Co-Founder Avi Fisher told Teslarati. Unplugged is Tesla Corsa’s sponsor and organizer.

Tesla drivers on the racetrack during Tesla Corsa’s inaugural event in October 2018. | Credit: Tesla Corsa

Tesla drivers zipping around the racetrack during Tesla Corsa’s January event. | Credit: Tesla Corsa

Tesla owners are generally aware of the great performance specs their vehicles offer but lack the opportunity to fully experience them, thus missing out on so many opportunities the ownership experience can bring. Even highway speeds can’t legally and safely provide a venue for a Model S Performance to unleash Ludicrous Mode’s maximum potential, for example. Similarly, Tesla’s Track Mode optimizes their electric cars’ performance and handling so drivers can push the limits of their vehicles in the same types of environments offered by Tesla Corsa.

The experience of pushing a Tesla to high-performance levels on the track has the added potential bonus of delivering a driving skill set that enhances overall safety, something Fisher was sure to mention to us.

“For anyone, the opportunity to explore the car in a safe environment is incredibly fun and rewarding. It’s a whole side of your Tesla that many never get to experience…A natural byproduct of this is that if you are ever in an emergency avoidance type of scenario your ability to control your car under adverse conditions is significantly improved.”

Anyone wanting to simply be a spectator during the Tesla Corsa event is also welcome with no fee required besides the $10 gate fee, something which also applies to drivers to gain access to Buttonwillow’s track.

“Like any Tesla-owner event, there is a great chance to network. In the case of the last event, it was especially cool for attendees because Tesla sent a lot of their own staff there to interact with and interview Tesla owners. There were also a lot of SpaceX people there running their own cars or hanging out,” Fisher detailed. He also told us that Tesla Corsa has a private Facebook group for attendees where a lot of daily discussion takes place.

A racetrack event like Tesla Corsa’s involves plenty of memory making, and that’s also been factored into the whole experience. As part of the participation fee, drivers are given access to everything produced by the professional photographers and videographers present on behalf of Tesla Corsa, both on and off track. Fisher explained to us that Tesla Corsa purchases the photos and videos produced and gives attendees full rights to them.

The long-term plans for Tesla Corsa’s organizers are to bring its racetrack events to Tesla drivers and enthusiasts worldwide and possibly get Tesla in on the action as a sponsor.

Watch the below video for more about Tesla Corsa’s prior events and dreams for the future

To participate, drivers can signup via Tesla Corsa’s website. Both beginner and advanced drivers are welcome and will be grouped accordingly.

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Tesla owners ready for track day as Tesla Corsa expands its racing community


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Take a closer look at the McLaren 720S supercar’s complex suspension

Numerous systems go into making a high-performance car, and while a powerful engine is almost always one of them, engineers never forget about the suspension. What’s a lot of power good for if it handles like a sloppy mess?

The McLaren 720S uses a very neat system, although it’s mighty complex. Thankfully, we have explainer extraordinaire Jason Fenske of Engineering Explained to help us digest the trickery going on. McLaren calls its setup the Proactive Chassis Control II, and namely, it uses fluid in the dampers. The system also foregoes the need for an anti-roll bar since the two dampers are interlinked.

At its core, the suspension uses the fluid to keep the care flat through corners. For example, when the car makes a hard left-hand turn, which will make the right side of the car want to come up as the car leans into the corner. Inside the damper on the right side, a piston presses fluid to force it to travel to the other side. This side is trying to extend as the car tries to roll, but the traveling fluid pushes the other piston up to bring the tire closer to the body of the car. So, the 720S stays flat in the corner from the force applied in the suspension.

What makes the whole system tick are flow restrictors fitted at each area where the fluid exits. The restrictors allow the fluid to either exit really quickly, or not, which changes the stiffness of the suspension. For example, a lot of restriction will make for a stiffer setup, while less restriction will make the car feel softer. Inside the restrictor is a needle valve, which controls how much, or how little, fluid leaves. This corresponds with Normal, Sport, and Track modes.

Applying this knowledge to the entire car, there are a couple of scenarios that explain why McLaren has the full system interlinked with each other. Warp is when the front and rear axles experience roll in opposite directions. Think of this kind of scenario on roads with different bumps and imperfections where the front doesn’t experience the same thing as the rear. Ideally, this requires the car to have some roll to allow the car to adapt, but too much body roll is never a good thing.

So, the suspension setup provides a place for pressure to go since there’s an opposite reaction at both ends of the car. If the front wheel wants to come up, high pressure is sent to the back wheel where there’s low pressure to try and create an equilibrium of sorts. This ensures the tires still have good contact with the road and the car adapts to changing surfaces.

We’ll let Jason take it from here as there’s a lot to learn about McLaren’s fascinating system.


Tesla rolls out AutoSteer Stop Light Warning for Autopilot in latest software update

Tesla Autopilot can now recognize stop lights and warn drivers in danger of running through them thanks to a feature rolling out in the latest software update (2019.8.3) called Autosteer Stop Light Warning. Tesla vehicles that were manufactured from October 2016 on and have Autopilot or Full Self-Driving will automatically receive the new feature.

Autosteer Stop Light Warning’s primary advantage is that it can calculate whether a vehicle will blow through a stop light that the system has detected and then generate a visible and audible warning for the driver to take over. In part, the center touchscreen will flash a red-colored steering graphic with instructions for the driver to “Take Over Immediately” after a relevant stop light situation is detected.

Analyzing mapping data and cross-referencing that with data from Tesla’s vision system and the cars’ external cameras has enabled this stop light feature to become a reality. In effect, the system can confirm that a stoplight is in each specific location and the vision system has been trained to detect red lights.

The warning produced by Tesla Autopilot’s Autosteer Stop Light Warning feature. | Credit: Tesla

Crashes and injuries attributed to red light running have affected over 137,000 people in recent years according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and with these types of numbers in mind, Tesla has continued to develop its products to address safety as the company’s highest priority. Stop Light Warning is one more step towards the all-electric car maker’s goal of creating safer-than-humans autonomous driving.

Tesla has also confirmed that a separate feature capable of recognizing and responding to traffic lights and stop signs is planned for release later this year. CEO Elon Musk teased about this feature, to also include handling roundabouts, previously via Twitter.

A few limitations still apply when using Stop Light Warning. First, the feature does not automatically apply the brakes; and second, not all stop lights will work with this latest advancement in Tesla’s journey to self-driving capabilities, but improvements will continue to roll out as they become ready.

Some Tesla drivers have noticed their Autopilot software already giving right away during lane changes. A video posted by reddit user privaterbok demonstrated Autopilot purposely responding to its environment in a side-by-side matchup: One side showed the center touchscreen’s driving graphic animating the input received and directions it was was sending to the car, and the other showed the car’s actual response.

Elon Musk recently confirmed the initial rollout of the Navigate on Autopilot without turn stalk confirmation feature as well as Enhanced Summon as yet another part of the march to Full Self-Driving ability. In keeping with most of Tesla’s new rollouts, the features will be introduced to small groups first and expanded to a wide release once any additional improvements are made. Both features are only being offered as part of Tesla’s $5,000 Full Self-Driving package which is in addition to the required $3,000 Autopilot.

Tesla rolls out AutoSteer Stop Light Warning for Autopilot in latest software update


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