With the amount of time and energy Tesla spends talking about speed and racetracks, you could mistake it for a race car maker. However, for a company whose car just set an electric record on a world-famous racetrack, the bragging is justified.
It is celebration time again at Tesla as its Plaid Model S managed to bag lap time of 7:35.579. The Tesla car did seven seconds better than the Porsche Taycan.
The Model S attained a top speed of 279 km/h or 173.3 mph during the race, with Swedish driver Andreas Simonsen in the cockpit.
The Model S achieved this automotive feat at the iconic Nurburgring Nordschleife, also known as The Green Hell. The racetrack features a significantly long track and throws up many technical difficulties for the driver and the car. It is almost 13 miles per lap, compared with up to 4 miles for most other tracks. It would take the driver through flat Rhineland roads with evil-looking corners now and then.
As a bonus, you will enjoy art from local graffiti artists. However, you might be going too fast and keyed up to appreciate the creativity.
Automakers often use the Nordschleife track to validate their car designs as the endurance gets tested. Tesla spent several weeks putting the Model S through its paces, culminating in the CEO announcing the outcome on Twitter, his preferred communication channel.
Here is the tweet posted by Elon Musk to commemorate the event:
Tesla Model S Plaid just set official world speed record for a production electric car at Nurburgring. Completely unmodified, directly from factory. pic.twitter.com/AaiFtfW5Ht
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 9, 2021
Musk notes the Model S used for the test did not have any modification, which means any Model S could have been picked from the street and shipped to Germany.
The information on the accompanying picture might look sparse, but it contains enough details to know how the test went. You can see the lap time and average speed.
Tesla obviously did two laps and the time taken for the laps had a difference of just five seconds. This consistency is great for a long lap like the Nordschleife track. It is even more notable for an electric car, as battery-powered vehicles sometimes have problems completing a lap with no incidents. For example, the Taycan made by Porsche had overheating issues and had to abandon the second lap.
There is no indication as to whether the two laps were back-to-back or there was a break in-between. If the latter was the case, more credits to the car.
There is, however, a puzzle in the time chosen as the official finish time for the event. Both Nurburgring and Tesla decided to adopt the higher lap time instead of the lower one, about five seconds less. As neither party is explaining, it is safe to say there was a disqualifying factor that prevented the better lap time from being adopted as the official one.
How does the Model S’ lap time compare with other cars?
The comparison depends on several factors, as the tested cars are usually categorized based on their features. Therefore, it might be hard to get an exact comparison. However, it is possible to get decent comparisons to see how well the Model S stacks up.
The record-holder was the 2020 Porsche Panamera Turbo which finished at 7:29.81 last year, on the same track configuration. About six seconds separates it from the Model S.
Porsche’s record remained until the Mercedes AMG GT63 smashed it with a lap time of 7:27.80.
While both models above are four-door and have a back seat, they are ICEs, meaning the Model S performed well for an electric car.
A fairer comparison is with the Porsche Taycan, an electric, four-door car. The Model S comes up six better, sealing its position as the fastest electric four-door car with a back seat.
It is worth mentioning that the Porsche Taycan Turbo set the record, not the Turbo S, which could potentially shave off some seconds from the lap time.
Putting the Model S against non-four-door electric cars, it didn’t perform much worse than the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8, which managed a 7:29.90.
The electric NIO EP9 did smoke the Model S, with a lap time of 6:45.90. However, you must remember the former electric car cost almost one-and-a-half million dollars. Besides, less than 20 units were produced, making it hard to categorize it as a production car.
Volkswagen owns the electric car with the fastest lap time on the Nordschleife tracks, at 6:05.336. However, the ID.R was built to break the record, eliminating it from the production vehicle category.
There will definitely be more of the Model S on the Nurburgring track as Musk has teased a modified version of the Plaid taking on the famous racetrack. He added that all the modifications would not need extensive expertise.