The legendary racecar driver Randy Pobst and his Tesla Model 3 Ascension-R from EV tuning house Unplugged Performance dominated their class during the first day of qualifiers at Pikes Peak. The team moved to the top of their game for Sunday’s race, and there was nothing that could overthrow the momentum of the modified Model 3. If, of course, something unpredictable and tragic happens.
Unfortunately, something unforeseen and tragic really happened for the Unplugged Team and Randy. The first run of the Model 3 on the second day of qualifiers, the modified Tesla reached a bad bump at speeds from which the experienced racer could not recover. The Model 3 had gone off track, hit a wall and ended up in the dirt. Randy was luckily uninjured during the crash. An in-car video of the crash even showed the veteran racer seemingly trying to get the car to respond, to no avail.
As Unplugged Performance CEO Ben Schaffer has noted, the Model 3 damage has been severe. Almost everything that could break in the car, from its motors to its suspension to its frame, broke. In the immediate aftermath of the accident, the team’s hope of raising the Tesla flag at the Pikes Peak summit on Sunday seemed to have been shattered. After all, Randy described the Model 3 Ascension-R as one of the best vehicles he’d ever driven up the steep mountain.
But it takes more than a wrecked racecar often to hold the human spirit down. The Unplugged team agreed to try to restore the Model 3, in what could only be described as a move that was both remarkable and insane. The Pikes Peak Hill Climb officials wanted the team to use the same vehicle that was involved in the accident, so it quickly scrapped the idea of using a fresh Model 3 instead. What followed was an impressive effort involving various members of the Tesla community, Tesla employees, and EuroCar, an approved Tesla body shop, all working together to do the nearly impossible — resurrect a totaled racecar in 48 hours.
With just a few days to go before Sunday’s actual Pikes Peak Hill Climb, the Unplugged team and members of the Tesla community worked around the clock to revive the damaged Model 3 Ascension-R. The team purchased another Model 3 Performance that could be stripped for fresh components, which was delivered promptly by the head of Tesla Service in Colorado. Parts were ordered and delivered in the shortest possible time. Three Tesla engineers also came over to make sure the whole repair process was going smoothly. The team worked hard, moving parts, restoring damaged sections and tuning the resurrected Model 3 racer to make the vehicle capable of taking on Pikes Peak in time for the hill climb event on Sunday.
“We will never quit. Performance is more than lap times, it is a will to persevere over all obstacles. A totaled car won’t be the ending of this story for Randy or for us. I told Randy we will move mountains and we did. Today we assembled an army of support, we bought a new car, and we are working 24hr shifts to use the new car to move parts over to the race car. Whatever it takes we will overcome. See you at the top with Randy waving the Tesla flag,” the Unplugged CEO noted.
It was a tall order given the degree of damage on the Tesla Model 3 Ascension-R. But as the team was working diligently while being partly supported by food sent by other Tesla owners, something unusual happened. Part by part the battered Model 3 began to look like a racecar. With each fixed section, each new section mounted onto the damaged car, the Model 3 racer showed signs that the dream of competing and succeeding in one of the most dangerous events in a consumer-grade electric sedan may not have been dead yet.
It was an incredible drive that required a near-miraculous series of circumstances to succeed, but by the beginning of the weekend, the Model 3 Ascension-R was resurrected for the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Randy and the Unplugged squad, with the racer resurrected, now have another chance to take on the extremely difficult, extremely dangerous Pikes Peak course. Randy Pobst has noted in a video on his YouTube channel that life is “magnified” when racing, as it deals with thrilling wins, crushing defeats and inspiring comebacks. Over the years, Pikes Peak has seen all of this and the Tesla community can only hope that on Sunday, Randy will be able to finish the climb in spectacular fashion and wave the Tesla flag at the top of the mountain.
Reported by Teslarati.
Want to buy a Tesla Model 3, Model Y, Model S, or Model X? Feel free to use my referral code to get some free Supercharging miles with your purchase: http://ts.la/guanyu3423
You can also get a $100 discount on Tesla Solar with that code. Let’s help accelerate the advent of a sustainable future.