Tesla Unveils Model S Plaid Track Package With Updated Software for Peak Performance

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla introduces the Model S Track Package
Tesla introduces the Model S Track Package

Tesla has once again raised the bar in electric vehicle performance with the release of the Model S Plaid Track Package, designed for the ultimate track experience. This comprehensive package delivers high-speed stability, maximum cornering force, and repeatable stopping power during high-performance driving while unlocking an impressive top speed of 200 mph.

Starting in June 2023, the Track Package comes with several excellent parts to make your car perform better and last longer, both on the racetrack and on regular streets:

  • Aluminum forged wheels: These wheels are made from strong and lightweight metal, which helps your car go faster and use less energy.
  • Track-ready tires: Special tires designed for better grip on the racetrack, making your car more stable when you drive fast or take sharp turns.
  • Brake fluid: A special liquid that helps your car's brakes work smoothly and efficiently, so you can stop quickly when needed.
  • Carbon-silicon carbide rotors: These are special brake discs made from a mix of materials that make them strong and good at handling heat, which helps your brakes last longer.
  • One-piece forged calipers with high-performance pads are powerful clamps that squeeze your brakes for better stopping power. They're made from a single piece of metal, which makes them more robust, and they have special pads for better performance.

The Model S Plaid has already been showered with accolades for its speed and performance. A quick YouTube search will reveal hundreds of videos showing the Model S leaving super cars in the dust, or blowing past cars on the Autobahn.

Carbon Ceramic Brake Kit: A Game-Changer for Braking Performance

The Carbon Ceramic Brake Kit is the heart of the Track Package, featuring continuous-fiber technology and a unique 3D matrix to add strength and manage heat more effectively. The kit includes 410 x 40mm front and 410 x 32mm rear carbon-silicon carbide rotors, 6-piston and 4-piston one-piece forged calipers with high-performance brake pads, integrated caliper-mounted parking brakes, and track-ready brake fluid. In addition, a ceramic friction layer covers the entire rotor surface to reduce brake dust, corrosion, and wear while improving the pedal feel for daily driving.

What's all that mean? The kit has big, fancy brake discs and powerful clamps that squeeze the brakes for better stopping power. There's also a special coating on the brake discs that helps keep them clean and lasts longer. This all helps make the brakes work well not only on the racetrack but also for everyday driving.

Wheel and Tire Components for Enhanced Handling

The package also features 20X10J and 20X11J Zero-G wheels with 285/35R20 and 305/30R20 Goodyear Supercar 3R tires, TPMS, Zero-G center caps, tire nut valves, and lug nut covers. These wheel and tire components have been carefully selected to enhance handling and grip, ensuring your Model S Plaid is ready for the racetrack.

Tires are essential because they are the only part of your car that touches the road. Good tires help your car stick to the road better, especially when driving fast, turning, or stopping. In this package, the special Goodyear Supercar 3R tires and other wheel parts have been chosen to ensure the Model S Plaid has the best possible grip and control on the racetrack. So, having the right tires can make a difference in how well your car performs and how safe it is to drive.

Updated Track Mode

Tesla's list of included components also lists 'Updated FW tuned for peak performance," hinting at an updated Track Mode that will give drivers more insight into how the vehicle is performing.

Tesla briefly teased the improved Track Mode feature in a video they shared on Twitter. Your vehicle's speed is now front and center on the illustrument cluster, with tire pressure appearing to the left. Tesla doesn't go into details on what's new or impoved, but it looks like Plaid owners can expect some changes to Track Mode if they have the Track Package installed.

While it is unclear if this feature will be exclusive to the Track Package or available via an OTA update for Model S Plaid vehicles, it is an exciting potential addition that could further elevate the Tesla track experience.

Tesla introduces the Model S Track Package
Tesla introduces the Model S Track Package

The Model S Plaid Track Package is compatible with Model S Plaid vehicles produced in 2021 and later. To achieve the top speed of 200 mph, vehicles must be fitted with the Carbon Ceramic Brake Kit and proper wheels and tires. The kit is not compatible with 19" Tempest wheels but works with 20" Zero-G and 21" Arachnid wheels (sold separately). Please note that Goodyear Supercar 3R tires are not recommended for winter use or in temperatures below 40℉ (5℃).

Unleash the full potential of your Model S Plaid with the Track Package, and dominate the racetrack like never before.

Plaid Track Package in Action

Tesla let AutoTopNL have an early look at their new Track Package and below is their video review.

Tesla FSD Beta v12 Auto Parks, Completes U-Turns, But Removes Traffic-Aware Cruise Control Ability

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla has released FSD Beta v12 to some customers
Tesla has released FSD Beta v12 to some customers

Tesla's FSD Beta version 12.2.1, update 2023.44.30.20, recently started going out to some owners, which resulted in more videos posted on X. There are several examples of amazing technology at work, but also evidence that more work is needed.

Ashok Elluswamy, Tesla's Director of Autopilot Software, recently highlighted the sophistication of FSD Beta v12 on X, emphasizing how the system's end-to-end approach is tackling complex driving scenarios with remarkable ease. His response came to a video of FSD maneuvering around a large puddle.

FSD V12 Does U-Turns

One of the standout features of FSD Beta v12 is its ability to execute U-turns seamlessly when required by the route. This is where real-world examples show the good and the bad of this highly advanced maneuver come into play. X user AI DRIVR, an account posting several high-quality videos of V12.2.1 in action, demonstrates a flawless U-turn.

Unfortunately, not all U-turns posted on X are as pretty; Randolph Kim has been experimenting with several scenarios. While later videos showed better behavior with u-turns and roundabouts, the earlier attempts had to be disengaged.

Parking Mode / First Glimpse at Park Seek

During our first glimpse of FSD v12 during Musk’s livestream, we noticed a new behavior when the vehicle reached its destination. Instead of just stopping, the vehicle now pulled over to the side of the road. However, it looks like the newest release goes one step further.

In a video by ArthurFromX, the vehicle is navigating to a parking lot. Not only does the vehicle successfully navigate to the parking lot, but it hunts around for a spot and then successfully parks without any additional instructions.

This could be our first glimpse at Tesla’s upcoming Park Seek feature that will eventually let the vehicle drop you off at the door and then go park itself.

Return of the Snapshot Button

Tesla appears to have reintroduced the Snapshot button in this update, at least to some owners. The snapshot button allows drivers to send additional information to Tesla regarding Autopilot's performance. This feature and the existing voice command feedback option provide Tesla with invaluable data to improve the FSD system further.

Automatic Speed Offset

Another noteworthy addition is the Automatic Set Speed Offset feature, which grants the vehicle autonomy to adjust its speed based on factors such as road type, traffic flow, and environmental conditions. The video below shows this feature in action. The feature is turned off by default and it currently only applies to street-level roads, but it’s a shift toward more human-like behavior for FSD Beta.

TACC is No Longer Accessible

Recently, Tesla revised the Autopilot activation method to avoid confusion and offered drivers two choices — a single pull of the stalk to enable FSD Beta or the traditional two taps. However, with FSD Beta v12, drivers are now required to use the single pull method to activate Autopilot.

Traffic-Aware Cruise Control (TACC) has traditionally been one pull of the stalk and Autopilot two pulls, but with the new single-pull method to activate Autopilot, TACC becomes unavailable. This hasn’t been a big deal until the release of FSD v12. With v12 Tesla is now requiring FSD Beta to use the single tap activation method.

This means that if a driver chooses to use FSD Beta, then TACC is no longer accessible. The only way to enable it is to go into Controls > Autopilot and turn off FSD Beta and instead choose Autosteer (or TACC). However, if you wish to enable FSD Beta again later, then it requires the vehicle to be in Park. Switching between Autosteer and FSD Beta isn’t practical for drivers. For those who rely on TACC, this issue could be a significant disadvantage in this release.

Update 2023.44.30.20

FSD 12.2.1
Installed on 0% of vehicles
0 Installs today
Last updated: Feb 24, 6:00 am

Several drivers have praised FSD Beta v12’s ability to navigate complex situations, better decision-making, and smoother behavior. However, as with any cutting-edge technology, there have been instances where the system's responses have room for improvement, highlighting the importance of its continued development.

Tesla Targets Sentry Mode Vampire Drain: Upcoming Update to Slash Power Use by 40%

By Kevin Armstrong
Sentry Mode Update is Coming
Sentry Mode Update is Coming

In an exchange on X, Drew Baglino, Tesla’s Senior Vice President of Powertrain and Energy Engineering, addressed the concerns regarding the power consumption of Tesla’s Sentry Mode. Responding to a user inquiry, Baglino confirmed the company’s commitment to reducing the feature's energy use by approximately 40% through a software update expected in Q2, which begins on April 1.

This announcement follows feedback from Tesla owners regarding the 'vampire drain' experienced when using Sentry Mode, highlighting Tesla's responsive approach to customer feedback and its dedication to continuous improvement. Another X user stated that there should be a breakdown or battery usage. This information already exists, but Baglino politely responded: The energy app provides a wealth of information about where your energy goes. He also linked to our Not a Tesla App article explaining that system.

Understanding the Drain of Sentry Mode

Sentry Mode is an advanced security feature for Tesla vehicles, leveraging the car’s cameras and sensors to monitor and record surroundings for potential threats when parked. Sentry Mode has proven invaluable for vehicle security by activating various deterrents, including pulsing headlights and alarm sounds.

Despite its benefits, the feature’s energy consumption, referred to as “vampire drain,” has been a concern, with estimates suggesting a small yet consistent drain on the vehicle's battery life. By optimizing Sentry Mode's power usage, Tesla enhances the feature's efficiency and extends the usability for owners, particularly when parking for extended periods without access to charging facilities.

Battery Management: Recognizing the importance of battery preservation, Sentry Mode automatically deactivates when the battery level falls to 20%, ensuring that the vehicle remains operational for essential travel.

Activation and Customization: Owners can activate Sentry Mode via the vehicle's touchscreen or mobile app, with options to customize settings, such as disabling sounds or excluding specific locations, tailoring the security feature to individual preferences and requirements.

Tesla's forthcoming software update aims to significantly reduce Sentry Mode's power usage, making it more adaptable for various situations without impacting the car's range or battery longevity. This enhancement aligns with Tesla's commitment to continuous improvement via over-the-air updates, directly responding to customer feedback with practical solutions. Owners looking forward to this change appreciate the balance between maintaining Sentry Mode's security benefits and preserving battery life for everyday needs.

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