At the borders of Utah and Nevada, the Bonneville Salt Flats present an excellent playground for automotive enthusiasts. Thanks to the Flats’ sheer vastness and even ground, the large open space has developed a reputation as the perfect place to do speed runs. As one Tesla driver found out recently, however, the “safe space” is not without inherent dangers.
Youtube user Ben Ahlander recently uploaded a video of what appears to be him piloting a Tesla Model 3 Performance to the Salt Flats and doing a few runs with a passenger inside the car. After stopping at Wendover to charge up, the car was full on power. As a reminder, the Performance model of the 3 uses two motors for all-wheel drive. Tesla claims it can do 0-to-60 in 3.3 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph.
Ahlander decided he wanted to test out those top speed claims, and does so in a pretty dangerous manner. During his first run, he gets up to 154 mph. On his second run, which starts at about 2:10 in the video, he gets up to 138, then starts to lose control. When the car starts to spin, he shows no signs that he has any concept of countersteering, and at about 80 mph, he actually turns into the spin, all while he and his passenger laugh like it’s a roller coaster ride. As seen earlier in the video, Ahlander is not even wearing a helmet, which makes this type of run a major safety risk. Here’s what he had to say about the situation in a comment under the video:
“The sand is pretty forgiving! The most frightening part about this situation is that I’m really not sure how dangerous it is but I know this is a very popular place to race cars!”
As several other comments point out, the low center of gravity of the Tesla likely played a major role in keeping the car planted while Ahlander lost control. We’re not your mothers and fathers, so we can’t tell you what to do, but this is a perfect example of how not to test out a car on your own.
If this is something you’re interested in doing, we’d suggest going with somebody who has experience with the area and always wearing the proper safety equipment in case of an emergency that goes much worse than this. This guy was nothing but lucky.