Video: Unplugged Performance Tesla Model 3 “Bionic Phoenix” Breaks Buttonwillow Track Record

Video: Unplugged Performance Tesla Model 3 “Bionic Phoenix” Breaks Buttonwillow Track Record

/ April 20, 2023 / 286 Views

Unplugged Performance broke the Buttonwillow CW12 track record with their Model 3 Racecar “Bionic Phoenix”, with their factory driver Craig Coke behind the wheel, achieving a lap time of 1:48.65 during a three-lap shakedown at the recent TeslaCorsa event

After its massive crash at the 2020 Pikes Peak International Hillclimb event, the Unplugged Performance Tesla Model 3 racecar, dubbed “Bionic Phoenix,” rose from the ashes to complete the event. In the months and years that followed, the “Bionic Phoenix” was used by UP as a testbed for product development, but also, a great platform to show the racing community what the true limits of the Model 3 are. In turn, in early April, the Model 3 “Bionic Phoenix”, with UP factory driver Craig Coker behind the wheel, the car broke the Buttonwillow CW13 Model 3 lap record (1:48.65) during a brief three hot lap shakedown at a TeslaCorsa event.

Even though the lap time record was reset, we are still in the early stages of development on the “Bionic Phoenix”. The progress of Bionic Phoenix shows potential, and the road map is far from complete. As you can see on the incredibly smooth lap video, we now have the aero and suspension components so dialed that the driver can be flat out on the accelerator for most of the lap due to the insane levels of grip and road holding now present in the current iteration of the build.

The “Bionic Phoenix” is continuing on its current mission of testing the absolute maximum performance possible with standard off-the-shelf Tesla Model 3 Performance battery pack, motors, and software. Also, despite the extensive carbon fiber bodywork, this car is closely comparable to a standard Model 3 Performance due to the Pikes Peak-spec roll cage remaining from the original incarnation of this car.

Were we to start with a fresh build specifically for time-attack, we could shave off significant weight and improve lap times as a result. We still have more in store for this development car but its history is too special to us to start anew at this stage.

The “Bionic Phoenix” sports proprietary Unplugged Performance aero parts on the outside. However, the suspensionbrakeswheels, and many racing and safety components are all from the standard street parts catalog the tuner offers. In turn, they can be fitted to any Tesla Model 3. This means that any Model 3 owner can upgrade his EV to achieve greatly improved performance & lap times, all with street-legal upgrades available to order right now. In the meantime, grab a detailed look at the record-breaking run by the “Bionic Phoenix” in the video right below.


Been in the automotive industry ever since he got out of high school. Loves 911s, and everything BMW makes, even the new cars. He also enjoys racing events, even as a spectator, hanging on the side of the pit wall and taking pictures and drinking espresso that makes want to write more. Too tall to drive almost any supercar, but that doesn't stop him from bashing out people that do. Follows the aftermarket tuning industry in depth. Loves to spend time at BMW Welt. Enjoys too much coffee.