Tesla owners descended on Silverstone Classic this weekend, and the results were stunning. The British event bills itself as “the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival,” but in a unique twist, 76 electric car owners came together to offer attendees test drives of their futuristic vehicles.
“Companies like Pagani, Aston Martin, BMW and Porsche had to pick up their jaws from the floor once they realised we were volunteers from the official UK owners club and not employed by Tesla,” Will Fealey, president of the Tesla Owners UK club, wrote on his Twitter page.
It’s the latest move from the energetic Tesla fan community, which holds regular events to demonstrate the alternative to gas-powered vehicles. The community made headlines in May when it set a Tesla Model 3 driving record of 606 miles on one charge. The company plans an active role in supporting this community, like in November when it got a dying man’s Model 3 shipped out early so he could experience the drive.
The three-day Silverstone event was hosted at Silverstone Circuit, the Northamptonshire-based home of the British Formula 1 Grand Prix. Around one hundred car clubs attend the annual gathering with over 10,000 classic cars in tow. As part of the event, the Tesla group offered a staggering 10,000 test drive experiences for VIP, families, media and competitors.
The plan received a warm response from CEO Elon Musk:
The test drives lasted for between two to five minutes, during which time the owners ferried volunteers around in their car and demonstrated the technology, performance and charging times. The group was then invited to undertake a parade lap around the circuit, with Fealey acting as the pace car for one lap as the ultra-silent cars whirred around the track “in pure silence (except for tire squeals).”
“We’ve already been approached by other events to do all this again and judging by my initial feedback I’m going to have several thousand of our members interested for next years event,” Fealey wrote.
Events like these generate strong word-of-mouth for the company. A 2016 Global Equities report estimated the company spends just $6 per car on advertising, the lowest spending in the analyzed brands, well behind second-to-last Toyota that spends $246 per car.