Action Photos by Larry Chen
Last year’s Pikes Peak Hill Climb even was a disaster for Team Evasive Motorsports. Although the Model 3 Tesla ran well in practice and qualification a mysterious CANBUS glitch put the car into limp mode as soon as it left the line. The car would only go 30 mph which resulted in the team coming in dead last of the cars that were still running at the finish. After a year of development, this was heartbreaking. You can read about the car’s technology and last year’s Pikes Peak effort here.
Not to be discouraged by this extremely poor result and the arrival of the all-dominating Unplugged Performance 1000 hp Plaid, the team regrouped and continued to develop the model 3 with refinements in the cooling system, aerodynamics, and suspension. The goals were to increase the amount of time before the car’s electronics derated the power due to temperature, reduce drag, shift the aero balance forward, improve the aero platform stability, and improve the ability of the car to maintain speed over the bumpy upper part of the course. With the Unplugged car’s huge power advantage, 460 hp vs 1000 hp, handling and efficiency were going to be the key to being competitive. The car was tested many times over the year and turned the fastest production electric car lap time at COTA even though competing against a Plaid that was over 30 mph faster down the straights.
The final test before Pikes Peak was at the Willow Springs Horse Thief Mile course where the car was run hard for 12 minutes to simulate a Pikes Peak pass. The car ran extremely well over the entire test which was very encouraging the car was several seconds a lap faster toward the end of the test showing that the new cooling mods were working well.
Our Job for the team was to provide engineering support and we did the suspension calibration and helped with some stuff like Aero. Pikes Peak is an event steeped in tradition and takes a whole week to complete. It is sort of like how the Indy 500 takes a whole month. After a 20-hour drive, the first thing to do was to pass Pikes Peak Hillclimb’s stringent tech inspection. This process takes several hours. The Tesla passed with flying colors.
Next, it was time for a quick team picture. From the right, Mike Chang- Co-Owner of Evasive Motorsports, Yours truly- Chassis Engineer, Kelvin Jong- Crew Chief, Data Acquisition, Jason Reinholt- Master Tech, Erick Joya- Mechanic, Dai Yoshihara- Driver