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Tesla's Track Mode: What does it do, exactly?

Tesla's been hyping up its Track Mode for a while now, and it's got questions to answer.

2018 Tesla Model 3 Performance
The Performance version of Tesla's Model 3 is fast and fun already, so what will Track Mode bring to the party?
Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Tesla has been talking about its planned Track Mode update since the Model 3 Performance hit the scene, but what exactly does it do? The big T is working to clarify that in a blog post on Thursday.

The cornerstone of Track Mode is torque vectoring, though Tesla doesn't call it that. Essentially, it shuttles torque from the front end of the car to the back to offer more or less rotation in a corner. Simple stuff, in theory, but effective. And based on our man Antuan Goodwin's reaction at a Tesla autocross event over the summer, it's a whole lot of fun, too.

Next, Track Mode addresses the Model 3's somewhat intrusive traction and stability control systems, though again, Tesla doesn't call them that. The Model 3 Performance uses something called a Vehicle Dynamics Controller that works with the car's systems to allow more rotation and even some slip. Tesla is also using brake torque vectoring (video) to mitigate some of the handling deficiencies caused by the car's open differential.

The company says Track Mode does a few other things to sharpen the feel of the Model 3 Performance, including dramatically increasing the amount of regenerative braking that the car uses. This reduces the strain on the car's braking system and captures energy more efficiently. Win-win.

Extended spirited driving can be rough on an electric vehicle's cooling system, so, Tesla says, it recalibrated the Model 3 Performance to cool more aggressively and more proactively. It can also overclock the air conditioning compressor to help cycle coolant through the battery pack more quickly.

So, there you go. Track Mode sounds like a fairly comprehensive update to the Model 3 Performance package that should serve to make an already great car that much more dynamic.