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Project White Lightning Update 4: Summit Racing’s Upgraded Tesla Goes Back to the Autocross Course

It’s been a while since White Lightning first ventured onto an autocross track. Now, with some key performance modifications, the Tesla is back to impress. (Image/Summit Racing)

Whether it’s gas, diesel, or electric, Summit Racing’s going to find a way to hot rod every vehicle it gets its hands on.

So when Summit Racing introduced us to White Lightning a while back, we knew the performance modifications to its Tesla Model 3 would start soon.

You can get all the updates on Summit Racing’s Tesla Model 3 White Lightning here.

In the last post, the Tesla got a performance wheel/tire upgrade. Now it’s time to test its metal…err…mettle back on the autocross course. Summit Racing’s Brian Nutter will tell you if White Lightning improved since its first autocross outing. (Spoiler alert: It did.)

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We’ve been running with the ASCC (Akron Sports Car Club) and having a blast. Our first autocross was used as a baseline, and then we went back after our Eibach Pro Kit was installed. During that second autocross, the Tesla handled better but the stock tires were not having any of our shenanigans.

This time, we’ve upgraded to Forgestar 19×9.5x29x114.3 CF5V wheels and 275/35-19 Rival S tires. Let the games begin.

We started off in the third run group of the day towards noon. Sunny day with temps in the 80s.

The event drew an incredible mix of rides. Where else can you find a second-gen T/A sandwiched between a pair of C8 Corvettes, alongside a Lotus Elise? (Image/Summit Racing)

So how did we do? In a word, AWESOME.

Out of 147 cars competing, we came in 12th overall for raw times. To put this in perspective, the FTD (Fast Time of the Day) of 64.011 was set by a Lotus 7 in B Modified. We were off that by 1.65 seconds with a 65.665 ET.

The cars ahead of us (and the drivers) were incredibly good. CAM-S Corvettes, SM, ZL1 SSM, Prepared, Mod, etc. We even edged out the yellow Lotus Elise that consistently runs near the top by a tenth!

Behind us? More great machines and drivers.

Simply put, our car (with full interior along with very inexpensive and basic mods) did VERY well. All while remaining a pleasure to drive on the street.

We had a lot of folks come up and check the car out. No doubt more than a few people are thinking about picking up a Tesla Model 3 Performance and following our upgrade path.

Another look at the impressive cars at the Akron SCCA Autocr….wait, is that a Ford Cosworth RS?!?! (Image/Summit Racing)

So can we get into the top 10 out of a 150-car pack?

Yes. We we think the adjustable control arms on their own could put us there. We’ll go with a little over 2 degrees of negative camber in the back and a little more than that in the front. We’ll add a bit of toe-out in the front for better turn-in and perhaps loosen the adjustable Eibach front sway bar a notch for more rotation.

Video: Fitting a Big Wheel/Tire Combo to the Tesla Model 3

As alluded to above, we installed a set of performance wheels and tires to the Summit Racing Tesla Model 3. To see how we ensured the new rubber would fit properly, watch this video for some excellent wheel/tire fitment tools and techniques.

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