The Leaf driver is a car journalist who was able to keep up with a Porsche in a less powerful car. 
The Tesla driver is Jitosho Hikari, who is a rally car driver. 
Easy answer: Always as much braking as possible. There is no light braking in racing. You want to maintain full speed until you absolutely have to slow down. You brake as late as possible. The skill is not in judging how hard to brake, but when to begin braking. Watch F1 with the telemetry on the screen. Throttle goes up and down in corners. Braking is always either full-on or nothing.
Watch the brake and throttle indicators. He is off the brakes long before committing to the corner. And whenever he is on the brakes it is total. If you gradually move from braking to throttle you will take the turn too sharply. You set the speed before the corner so that during the corner the tires work only on turning. Then you apply the throttle as much as possible on the way out. Braking during the first half of a turn is done for some specific turn geometry (decreasing radius turns, or a car with higher acceleration than braking ability) but is generally a bad habit.
Trail braking is pretty common I think, especially without anti-lock brakes as in F1. Without it then there would be lockups at every corner as the aero effects reduce with the rapid loss in speed.
It is true that the braking plot-line looks a bit like an step function, but it never is, there's a huge difference between taking half a second to press the brake and it being machine-like and taking just some milliseconds.
It is even more pronounced when releasing the brake pedal. There you can always see a slope.
Honestly, watch the video.
Too simplified. It requires a precise definition of 'as much as possible'.
Measured answer: You have to prevent the wheels to lock, so always brake just an infinitesimal bit below this locking point: now you have invented ABS brakes.
If it was just a matter of 'slam your foot to the metal', cars would never have needed ABS brakes.
I have a few days experience on track with an SCCA instructor. Braking late and at maximum deceleration is the basic idea, but braking can do lots of things and be used lots of ways.
A light application of braking is sometimes important, not to slow the vehicle, but just to transfer weight to the front wheels before a turn. Also, it is possible to use light braking to induce some rotation mid-turn, especially in an FWD vehicle like a Leaf that will likely exhibit significant understeer.
Driving a car around a real track is humbling for the first time. The first event I was at, some instructor was taking a few laps with his personal Chevy Volt, and he was effortlessly passing students in a variety of high dollar sports cars.
In racing that is not a thing. There is never a situation where a car needs to "slow down a bit". The goal is to stay as fast as possible as much as possible. That means either going flat out (either in speed or cornering) or be under maximum braking (to minimize time at lower speeds). If you are ever "a bit" too fast then you have made a mistake. You began braking too late. On the next lap you will alter your braking point, not adjust your braking pressure.
>> tail spin
Also not a thing under braking. "Tail spins", or to use the correct term oversteer occur when a rwd car applies too much power (or some 4wd). The back end slips. When you brake too hard entering a corner the front wheels will depart first, causing an understeer rather than a tailspin. The car will push forwards and fail to turn.
If you lose control under hard braking it means you chose to brake at the wrong point.
This is also a problem for having the drivers switch cars. If they don't have the knowledge of the car they're driving, they cannot fully take advantage of it.
What's strange is all this Model S thermal issue talk, yet the driver posted his fastest lap in the 13th. How can this be explained?
Then there's this remark from the article:
> Clearly, [the Leaf driver] was keeping an eye on the temperatures and adjusting driving accordingly to finish the race before power loss occurred.
...and this depicting the Leaf gauge cluster with 42% remaining at the end of the race. Was the Leaf driver even really trying? His right arm occasionally chilling on the door sill and casual commentary throughout the race was kind of funny.
I think it is a bit unfair, though. The Leaf seems to have an advantage in the tires, and is several years newer.
I think the better race would be a TT on good AS tires in the same product range.
All that extra charge early in the race was weighing him down. Once he'd burned through most of the battery and lost the weight, the car got quicker. Every racer knows you don't start with more fuel than you need.
And like with classic muscle cars, it can be beaten on the track by a cheap light car tuned for good handling with a stiff suspension and good tires.
As Lotus's Colin Chapman wisely observed, "Simplify, then add lightness." But I think we're still 5-7 years from the 400Wh/kg batteries needed to power a lightweight (1000-1200 kg -- think of a Miata) electric car.
A sad case in point is the new Porsche Taycan 4 passenger sedan, with a curb (empty) weight of 5,100 lbs/2295 kg, and gross (max) weight of over 6,300 lbs/2880 kg. The kinetic energy of one of these lead sled's at 150mph terrifies me.
The reality is that a semi-truck loaded up with produce is a bigger risk from the “turns my car into shrapnel in an crash” scenario.
Also, do you live in Germany or just near a bunch of extremely reckless and extremely wealthy drivers?
That's all well and good but a fully-loaded semi-truck weighs 15x as much as a full-loaded Taycan. My rough calculations say a fully-loaded Taycan driving 150 mph has a kinetic energy of 6.5 MJ while a fully loaded (80 thousand pound) semi at 80mph has a kinetic energy of 23 MJ. In fact a semi at 45 mph still has (slightly) more kinetic energy than a Taycan at 150. I wasn't very good at physics so maybe I screwed this up.
But yes, the Porsche driving 150 is more likely to fly across a median to hit your family sedan head-on.
Maybe they should swap cars and do it again?
Only the most hardcore fanboy would see such a loss as as win. Ya, it was a new leaf against an old tesla. It might have been an unfair race, but this is still racing. A loss is a loss. The only answer to such a result is to bring out the better car for the next race. Until then, victory to the victors.
I noticed he was an excellent driver and still hit the sides a few times seemingly on purpose.
You see it from every F1 driver on almost every corner of almost every lap. Have you ever even watched a single F1 race?
On corner entry you hug the yellow line as close as you can with full speed and much less braking, on exit because of the speed and always trying to apply minimal breaking the car it’s harder to turn so you apply enough breaking to maintain the car in the track and get as close to the corner as you can.
Hope it helps.
You've driven a much shallower turn than the road, so can take it faster. :)
They also don't have manual gearboxes, which is a turn off for me personally.
No. The center of gravity is extremely low because of all the batteries under the floor. It’s supposedly extremely stable under cornering.
> They also don't have manual gearboxes
If I recall correctly, they don’t have gearboxes in the traditional sense at all. They have single speed transmissions. But I might be wrong on this.
A Porsche 917K from the 70s can still outbrake some modern sports cars because of how light it is.
A go cart is far lighter than a Lotus Elise. Would you expect the Elise to feel like a bus in comparison?
There is no need for a gearbox in a car with instant torque.
One of the notable features of the new Porsche Taycan is the two speed gearbox.
Depending on the system's ability/need to keep the motor cool that may or may not be true.
Some electrics like the Empulse TT have included gearboxes to make operators transitioning from gas vehicles more comfortable. However, this did not catch on.
Tesla S — curb weight 2200
There are no other explanations needed
There's no need to tip any scales to destroy a portly luxury sedan with a lighter car.
RANK CAR (MODEL YEAR) TIME
136 Mazda MX-5 Cup Car (2016) 3:06.4
209 Fiat 124 Spyder Abarth (2017) 3:16.9
211 Tesla Model S P85D (2015) 3:17.4
227 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club (2016) 3:20.8
241 Mazda MX-5 (2006) 3:29.3
I could easily have used the 124 as an example (I own one), but it's less known.
It also does 0 to 60 in over 6 seconds stock and is only at 164 HP stock.
If anything he Club number is suspiciously low
(The 2006 Miata, which non car people might not realize, is one of the heaviest, least Miata models ever made, also proving the point of how much weight matters)
On a relatively short test course in the hands of legendary racer Keiichi Tsuchiya, the ND was 1.431 seconds slower than the Abarth in best lap time comparison...seems about right when linearly scaling over VIR's length, and given the Abarth's better factory torque and suspension tune.
Otherwise, in general agreement.
Driving around almost any city in the US and the only metric you might care about is whether or not your car has VTOL capabilities. These comparisons are ridiculous.
Our urban design, traffic rules and substandard drivers training have ruined efficient traffic flow and speed. At least I can still go drive on a racetrack a few times a year.
Yeah, but they're fun. Overclocking consumer CPUs is likewise ridiculous, but most of us here read that content too.
I'm just happy that the notion of EV's as legitimate performance vehicles is finally breaking through.
The problem I have with the focus on 0 to 60 drag racing is that it says nothing about the quality, safety, driveability, real world driving performance, longevity, efficiency, suitability, reliability, features, range, autopilot quality, charging performance, insurance costs, repairability, repair costs, handling, etc.
In other words, it say nothing whatsoever about the things that actually matter for CONSUMER STREET cars.
I mean, back in the 80's I built a car (Pontiac TransAm) with a massive six litter V8 and equally massive supercharger sticking out of the hood that, quite literally, blew up both rear tires after --like a fool-- drag racing someone three lights in a row. And I do mean "boom!" and both tires blew up. I have no clue what the 0 to 60 was. All I know is that thing was a beast. And I also know it handled like crap on anything other than a straight line, it was a death-trap in an accident, and it was useless for anything other than behaving like a moron on public roadways. I am thankful that I outgrew that phase of my life very quickly.
Today I go to the race track a few times a year to drive fast on road courses, where real performance has very little to do with 0 to 60.
Which also brings up another important point: Most people are far more likely to kill themselves and others with a car that can accelerate as fast as some of these electrics do. People don't have the training and, therefore, lack the reflexes, to instinctively know what to do when a car gets away from them and they find themselves sideways staring at a bunch of people on a sidewalk.
Do we want electric cars to be compared along this axis? No. Beyond reasonable performance, say, 6 seconds, it's irrelevant and possibly a dangerous trend.
I mention on another comment that I go to the track several times a year. Aside from that, I have taken several high performance driving/race driving classes. They are lots of fun and you learn a ton.
During one of our sessions the California Highway Patrol was conducting training for their cadets on the same track (Willow Springs). They were driving massive powerful Dodge Chargers. We were driving small turbocharged Toyota-modified race cars with barely 200 HP.
The Chargers were brutally powerful when compared to the Toyota's. Absolutely hands-down blew us away on the main straight on the "Streets of Willow" course. There was nothing you could do if you entered the straight right behind a Charger, they pulled away from you with resolve.
However, once they got to the corners the situation was laughably reversed. Their handling is so atrocious when compared to a small nimble car that they simply could not keep up with the little under-powered Toyotas. The delta in performance was far greater, noticeably greater, than the delta in 0 to 60 performance on the straight. I mean, the only way to put it is those cars were absolute dogs in real road course conditions.
This is why the focus on electric car 0 to 60 comparisons, in my opinion, are pointless. They say nothing about anything of real value for the actual daily-driver application of these cars.
Here's an example: An electric self-driving car needs to swerve in order to avoid killing a kid who just ran onto the street after a ball. The 0-to-60 metric says nothing about this vehicle's lateral transient response; the ability to quickly move laterally. What will save that kid's life isn't how fast this car can accelerate, but rather how fast it can decelerate or change lanes, or both.
More to the point, it is widely known that Teslas don't do well at all in road-course conditions. This is where, as I understand it, Porsche has focused their differentiation. I don't know if there are any independent real-world road-course tests yet, but their marketing push seems to speak to the idea that their focus was to develop an electrical system that would not suffer a performance drop after a couple of laps. It remains to be seen if and how they may have achieved this feat.
As a side note, if I was king I'd make it a requirement to have every young driver go through a weekend actually learning to drive on a race track. I did that with my son when he was 17. Nothing can explain what you feel when you see your son in front of you doing 120 mph about to enter a turn. The kid, after several sessions, became an excellent driver. He has missed turns and gone off-road and had such experiences as exiting a high speed turn sideways (and correcting it). Above all, it took the "need for speed" completely out of him while driving on the streets and he is far more capable than probably 99% of those around him. I completely trust him with my sports cars because I know exactly what kind of a driver he is.
Just because the Tesla Model S is marketed as a performance car and being beaten by a much cheaper Nissan Leaf undermines the marketing bluster.