Tesla Marketing VP Darryl Siry and the Tesla Roadster
When I went for a ride with Darryl Siry in the Tesla Roadster following the Los Angeles Auto Show, we discussed a wide array of topics relating to the car. One of those areas was the use of the Roadster as track car. Given the heritage of the chassis being derived from the Lotus Elise and the frequent use of the that car on the track, it would seem to be an obvious application. Unfortunately for buyers of the Roadster, that won't be a viable option. The power electronics module (PEM) monitors a variety of the sensors in and around the battery pack and the air-cooled AC motor. If anything starts to get too hot, the PEM will automatically start limiting the power flow from the battery until things cool down. The result is that after a only a couple of laps of all-out track running, the motor will start to heat up and performance will be limited. On the road in real world conditions this won't be a problem, because conditions generally won't allow that sort of sustained extreme driving.
At some future point after the Roadster is well-established in production, Darryl would like to consider producing a dedicated track car similar to what Lotus does with the 2-Eleven. Tesla could potentially offer a chassis and power-train combination with a higher power battery pack and liquid cooled motor. They could also sponsor a single make racing series along the lines of the Porsche Cup or Ferrari Challenge. If any of that does happen though it will be off in the future after Tesla has resolved their current issues. You can listen to Darryl and I discussing the subject here.
[Source: Tesla Motors, Darryl Siry]