Pikes Peak 2020 Unlimited winner returns in modified Tesla Model 3
After claiming victory in the Unlimited Class last year in a 900-horsepower turbocharged Toyota 86 sportscar, Daijiro Yoshihara is swapping petroleum for electrons in a bid for back-to-back triumphs at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Again working with carmaker Evasive Motorsports, the Japanese driver will be taking to the famous route in a modified Tesla Model 3 Performance, which presented the company's engineers with some unique challenges.
The difficulty in taking on one of the world's most grueling road races with a used Tesla Model 3 lies in the fact that not many motorsports components for the vehicle exist. This meant Evasive's engineers had to get creative in adapting the 450-horsepower, all-wheel drive electric vehicle in their quest for glory.
Modifications include wide-body fenders and custom-built aero disc wheel covers to house the 18 x 11-inch forged wheels and Toyo racing slicks. Carbon fiber has been used to replace the doors, roof, rear windshield and trunk lid, while a carbon fiber GT rear wing has been added to boost downforce.
The biggest challenge the team faces, however, is in keeping the powertrain cool. This meant designing a new radiator and oil cooler, adding a nitrous oxide sprayer to chill the batteries if they exceed pre-set temperatures, while also incorporating extra vents and ducts to boost airflow. These efforts will be helped along by specialized EV fluids from Japanese motor oil company Eneos.
“This is definitely our most ambitious project to date,” says Mike Chang, co-founder of Evasive Motorsports. “We love to challenge ourselves and know it’s only a matter of time before the performance and racing industry will need to look seriously at electric vehicles. So, we decided to jump into the deep-end and apply all our motorsports experience to the Tesla Model 3."
Evasive's Model 3 will run in the Exhibition Class of the 2021 Pikes Peak, which takes place on June 27.