Watch: Tesla Plaid Brakes Catch On Fire

Well, this isn’t good news if you’re thinking about taking your Tesla Model S Plaid out on a track day.  Two YouTubers took a 2021 Model S out to run brake tests with the stock brakes. They wanted to approximate track conditions, then upgrade to aftermarket brakes, to see how they compared. At least, that was the plan. What they found was that the stock Model S Plaid brakes can, and did, catch on fire.

Heat retention and boiling fluid are usually the result of overheated brakes

Running anything on a track is hard on brakes. They retain heat from repeated use. So the faster you can expel the heat, the better they will perform. Brake fade, and even boiling the brake fluid, are some of the results of being hard on brakes. Now you can add fire to that shortlist.

PlaidAF posted the experience so you can see it for yourself. They found that under normal driving conditions, the rotors heat up to around 325 degrees. The expectation was for the brakes to heat up to around 600 degrees after 10 repeated simulations of hitting certain speeds and then applying the brakes. 

Again, this was a track simulation test. The stock Model S brakes are more than acceptable for everyday driving. But the desire to go out for a track day with your quick as Hell Model S Plaid will compel many an owner to do just that. After seeing this, they might want to upgrade to Tesla’s optional ceramic brakes, if they can afford to.

Tesla will sell you an performance brake kit for $20,000

Tesla Model S brakes
Tesla Model S Plaid brakes on fire | YouTube

Afford is a relative word, but Tesla’s Model S Plaid Ceramic Brake Kit costs a cool $20,000. That’s right, about 15 percent of the cost of the car. Tesla says the kit is “designed for the ultimate track experience.” The package “delivers maximum, repeatable stopping power during high-performance driving.” Which is exactly what it appears this Tesla needed.

These kits come with carbon-silicon carbide rotors, one-piece forged calipers with high-performance brake pads, and high-temperature brake fluid. It will only fit a Model S with 21-inch Arachnid wheels. That option will set you back an additional $6,000. 

Who says racing is cheap?

A blue Tesla Model S Plaid EV, shot in motion from the front 3/4
The Tesla Model S Plaid | Tesla

Nobody said that racing was cheap. But considering you can take your everyday Model S to the track, and be competitive without doing anything, is intriguing. So stepping up to an additional $26,000 or so, strapping a fire extinguisher inside, and getting in line to race might be a bargain. 

Tesla is expected to announce other track upgrade packages any time, to cater to those with similar racing plans in their sights. We’ve all seen those shots of modified Model S sedans zipping around the Nürburgring Nordschleife. That could be you, with what Tesla is expected to offer. 

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