Tesla logo badge on a Tesla Model 3 wheel
Justin Duino / How-To Geek
Tesla Track Mode is a feature available for some Teslas that gives you more control over your EV by letting you divert power to systems that improve performance including traction, handling, and cooling.

While “track mode” might sound like “find my iPhone” for Tesla, it’s actually an enhanced driving feature. Let’s look at what Track Mode is, how it improves performance, and how you can enable it on your Tesla.

What Is Track Mode On a Tesla EV?

Tesla’s Track Mode provides Model 3 Performance, Model Y Performance, and Model 3 Plaid owners with a racecar-like driving experience by diverting power from areas like the entertainment system to traction control, handling, cooling, and the motor. It was originally released as an over-the-air software update to the Tesla Model 3 Performance EV, with the Model Y Performance and Model 3 Plaid following suit as of January 2023.

Tesla explains it like this:

“Track Mode improves cornering ability by intelligently using the motors, and regenerative and traditional braking systems. When enabled, the cooling system runs at an increased level during and after aggressive driving sessions to allow your vehicle’s systems to withstand the surplus heat.”

When cornering in tight turns, for example, the car’s systems automatically shift power side-to-side and front-to-back depending on where force is needed the most. The regenerative braking system also ramps up to drive more power to the battery, and the cooling systems work overtime on the drivetrain to help it operate at a higher capacity for a longer period of time.

Track Mode isn’t all automatic, either. Drivers can control stability, handling, and traction from the car’s touchscreen before taking off. You can see short videos of this in action via Tesla’s Twitter thread on Track Mode.

In their explainer on Track Mode, Tesla stresses that this mode is only to be used on a closed-circuit driving track. Since the vehicle behaves differently with these controls on, and since other driver-assist features get disabled, it isn’t safe to be in Track Mode on regular streets and highways.

How to Turn On Tesla Track Mode

Track Mode has to be manually enabled when the car is in park, and can’t be toggled on while driving. To turn it on, go to Controls > Pedals & Steering > Track Mode in the menu. TRACK will appear on the dashcam display and you’ll see a color-coded diagram of the car’s systems that you can use to check vehicle health while you drive.

If you want to customize your Track Mode settings, tap the popup window that appears when you’re in track mode where it says “Track Mode Settings.” You can also drill down from the main menu by going to Controls > Pedals & Steering, then tapping “Customize” next to the track mode setting.

Warning: Again, Track Mode is intended only for use on a closed circuit track. No matter what mode you’re in, always drive safely and responsibly, staying within the speed limit for the road you’re driving on.

Does Track Mode Improve a Tesla’s Performance?

Track Mode cools the powertrain so it can operate at a higher load without overheating, and sends extra power to help with steering and stability while snaking through tight corners. That can definitely improve driving performance when used by a skilled driver.

It also seems to improve a Tesla’s acceleration. In this video from Tesla Northwest & EVs the driver takes a Tesla through several tests, accelerating to 100 KmH in just under four seconds in Track Mode with a 75/25 front bias.

Drivers should be aware that some features get turned off while in Track Mode. Autopilot features don’t work, and entertainment features are also inaccessible. The Slip Start setting is overridden, and the stopping mode defaults to Roll.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, depending on how you customize the settings, your car could handle very differently with Track Mode. If, for example, you turn down the stability assist or traction control settings so you can drift, your car will handle in a more slippery way than normal — and you should keep that in mind when driving.

Track Mode is also designed for use with sturdy racing tires, so cheaper tires or ones that aren’t as durable might end up getting damaged in track mode. Make sure your car is up to par and can handle the additional stress before driving with Track Mode on.

Additional Track Mode Features

There are several cool racing-themed features built into Track Mode if you’d like to use them. One is the ability to set a lap timer by dropping a pin at the start/finish location that the vehicle then uses to time each lap. Your Tesla can also record each lap as a separate video, but you have to have a USB drive inserted to save the footage.

A G-Meter card also appears on the dash display when in Track Mode and tracks acceleration force as your drive. It automatically starts at the beginning of each driving session and tracks acceleration and deceleration forces until Track Mode is turned off.

While all Teslas don’t currently have this feature, it may be coming to non-performance models in the future. The company launched its Acceleration Boost feature as a paid over-the-air update and could do something similar to bring Track Mode to all its cars later on.

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Profile Photo for John Bogna John Bogna
John is a freelance writer and photographer based in Houston, Texas. His ten-year background spans topics from tech to culture and includes work for the Seattle Times, the Houston Press, Medium's OneZero, WebMD, and MailChimp. Before moving to The Bayou City, John earned a B.A. in Journalism from CSU Long Beach.
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