The Unplugged Performance Tesla Model 3 Ascension-R street car runs 1:49.90, beating the lap time of the formidable Porsche 911 GT2 RS at Buttonwillow Raceway Park

When we began our Tesla Model 3 based Ascension-R complete car program we set an audacious lap time benchmark, the legendary Porsche 991 spec 911 GT3 RS. The GT3 RS is one of the world’s greatest driver’s cars on any race track. It’s a no-compromise performance car built specifically to be on the edge of what you can plausibly drive on the street. We challenged ourselves to create a cohesive daily driven Tesla Model 3 upgrade package that can provide all of the benefits of an awesome commuter electric four-door sedan with two trunks and Autopilot, yet one that can transform into a Porsche 911 GT3 RS rival on race track’s like Buttonwillow. People thought we were insane to even reference the revered 911 GT3 RS as a benchmark. Yet we work hard to make it possible and make the whole package sing on the track and soothe on the street. In fact the fastest lap of the even faster 991 911 GT2 RS (!) with a great pro driver a managed only a 1:50.4. Meanwhile, we clocked a 1:49.90 with our friend Craig Coker behind the wheel in one of our spec-built Tesla Model 3 Ascension-R complete cars.

Please keep in mind that the sub-1:50 lap time is done in a completely street-legal, daily driven car. This is not a fully gutted, giant winged, purposes built race car and the only thing needed to achieve these same results is swapping to racing slicks, but otherwise this car can be driven cross-country in comfort once street tires are reinstalled.  So, does the 1:49.90 lap time warrant an apples-to-apples comparison with the latest-spec Porsche 911 GT2 RS lap time of 1:50.42? Of course not, it’s not that simple. Valid arguments can be had on both sides and it’s true many would choose the alure of a $300,000+ Porsche if they could be had at the same price. The crazy thing though, our goal was to compare a Tesla Model 3 with our bolt-on upgrades with the ultimate, price is no object, $400,000+ track-focused weapon from Porsche; the GT2 RS.  Sure there are probably tracks and circumstances where many Porsche models can go faster than this car, but the fact that we can say a Tesla Model 3 can run with the best pure-bred performance cars on earth is satisfying as heck!

This video now illustrates that if you put both on the track and drive them both flat out you have an improbably close outcome!

This is not comparing pro to amateur drivers, this is comparing lap times of Will Wattanawongkiri who is arguably the top driver in FastestLap rankings at Buttonwillow vs Craig Coker who holds a lot of Tesla lap records and is a close friend of ours. Who is faster, Will vs Craig? We don’t know but Will surely has more seat time at the track and holds a ton of records there. We think both are talented drivers and this makes it an interesting comparison.

Let’s list out some of the key arguments on both sides: Porsche 991 911 GT2 RS, priced at $400,000+

This is the ultimate in production street-legal Porsche track car at any price. They don’t bother with back seats, it comes with custom compound, barely street-legal Michelin Cup 2 R tires at 325 wide rears, formulated to get within the limits of DOT legality for the fastest lap times. The suspension is factory race-tuned and is very firm. The aero is extreme for maximum factory downforce. The car has lightweight mods from the factory. This includes carbon fiber, magnesium, and Lexan body panels. The car comes with large 6 piston carbon-ceramic brakes. Additionally, the car has wider front/rear fenders compared to the standard 911. Overall, this is the ultimate track-oriented Porsche and the resulting performance is top-notch. No wonder these cars hold a lot of the current street-legal track records at numerous tracks worldwide.

Let’s list out some of the key arguments on both sides: Unplugged Performance Tesla Model 3 Ascension-R, priced at base car + approximately $60,000 in parts and labor included, resulting in around $120,000 – $130,000 total price tag, depending on the current Tesla base car prices

The car has four doors, and two trunks. It seats four people. It comes with a full interior and all the creature comforts and runs on pure electricity. For track duty, the street wheel and tire combination is swapped out for 19×11 UP-03 wheels with 310 wide Yokohama slicks. Furthermore, the UP Ascension-R bucket racing seats are swapped in for more lateral support. This particular car has almost no UP weight reduction parts like the lexan glass replacements, UP dry carbon doors, carbon hood, or the carbon fiber trunk.

This particular car has our street aero which is low drag for neutralized range impact. The rear spoiler is low and out of view of the rearview mirror for stock visibility and daily usability. The front splitter is reasonable in height and length for a daily driven car. No race aero here. The car is modified with UP’s quiet brakes which are oversized carbon ceramic six-piston brakes similar to the ones found on the Porsche 911 GT2 RS. The car has all bolt-on upgraded adjustable suspension components. In addition, it has wider front fenders installed only to accommodate the 310 wide rubber.

The industry pundits, getting a taste of the capabilities of the Unplugged Performance Tesla Model 3 Ascension-R

Matt Farah (who is well known to not be a Tesla advocate) drove this same car on the street A052 tires and referenced Porsche Turbo speeds he felt in the canyons. 

MotorTrend drove this same car. So is this car a comparable track tool to a 991 GT2 RS? That debate will live on. There are a lot of subjective factors that need to be taken into account when discussing the matter. And generally speaking, people will always favor one over the other. What we love seeing are the track times that are unmistakably close with only 15 minutes of track-side prep; slap on the race wheels and tires, remove the passenger seat and rear cushion, allowing the street-legal, daily driven Unplugged Performance Model 3 Ascension-R to run side by side with one of the greatest track cars from Porsche of all time.

Not a bad way to spend your weekend, that’s for sure.

What our customers say
The Willans Safety Harness kit along with the Ascension-R Racing seat just arrived from Unplugged Performance ( The 6-point Harness kit goes hand in hand with the design of the racing seat. It looks absolutely well made and high quality making it a must have...
These are absolutely THE BEST brakes ( They work flawlessly lap after lap with it's nonstop stopping power, they will last forever. Incredible value for money and Highly recommend to anyone considering using their Tesla for both track and street.
This Ascension-R Racing seat just arrived from Unplugged Performance ( It looks absolutely well manufactured, high quality and lightweight making it a must have accessory on any Tesla going to the track! Looks stunning and well designed!!
I have a Tesla Model 3 LR but the rep at UP accidentally ordered the MY listing instead which is the same since both M3 and MY share most parts including struts. Purchased as the roads in DC just aren't very pleasant and combined with Tesla's stock struts, it's pretty horrendous. Delivery took...
Significantly improved feel from this suspension kit. Don't forget yo get camber adjustments and springs that make this suspension upgrade feel like a whole new car!
Tight on turns and soft on bumps--the mild springs seemed like the best option for folks who want to keep the vehicle as close to stock as possible while simultaneously improving the vehicle ride quality.
These wheels are insanely light and strong! And, they look the bomb! If I didn’t look while picking them up, I would have thought they are carbon fiber! The same spec as was originally used on the Bionic Phoenix Model 3 race car! I put in my fastest time at Buttonwillow on these wheels...
These springs were the first real mod I’d ever done to my Tesla and I’m so happy with the way they turned out. They really complete the look on my model 3. And I was surprised to find you don’t sacrifice anything in terms of ride comfort by adding them. The only problem is that now that I’ve...
The pictures on the website does not do justice. the wheels look extremely beautiful. Kirk was extremely helpful, and coordination was amazing. My wheels are gloss black, not able to add a picture to the review if not would do it. I went with slightly bigger wheels 20x10.5 front and 20X11 back. ...
Excellent product from a great team with great customer service! The factory Model 3 Performance's suspension is rather underwhelming, so once you add this Sway Bar kit along with the Dual Rate Linear Springs and Luxury Suspension Kit it completely transforms the car! UP also stands by their...
I recently purchased the Carbon Fiber long tail decklid spoiler for my Model X, the quality is outstanding, the finish and attention to detail of the spoiler is amazing. Looking forward to installing it on my X when it's being wrapped.
I purchased a set of these Sway bars along with a few other upgrade components for my Model 3 ( The sway bars improve the ride quality, reduced body roll making the car more rigid and stable. Installation and setup was easy, being adjustable is an added bonus....
Who likes shredded tires? Nobody! Fix the wonky camber on early Model S vehicles with this easy upgrade.
Excellent product from a great team with great customer service! The factory Model 3 Performance's suspension is rather underwhelming, so once you add the Dual Rate Linear Springs along with the Sway Bar kit and Luxury Suspension Kit it completely transforms the car! UP also stands by their...
Perfect companion product for the luxury suspension kit. An absolute must have for those who modify the springs of their vehicle.
Bought the shock and it works great. Definitely recommend for Model Y owners on limited budget.
I had my Coilovers installed by NV Auto in Hamilton Canada. They did a good job and I now have a great ride. After about a month of driving I went one step further and put new 18” rims and tires on. This really improved the ride and is is a joy to drive my Tesla again. Thanks unplugged...
The Air suspension upgrade kit works well on my refreshed Raven Model X with the upgraded Air Suspension kit. The suspension setting on Low not only improves the look but also benefits from higher efficiency with the advantage of location based auto raise function....
This is by far the best front fascia out there and its makes the Model 3 look so much better! It gives it a much sportier look and I get comments on it all the time. One of the simplest upgrades that makes a huge difference as far as the look of the car goes. Couldn't be happier with how it looks....
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