I don’t know whether to laugh, shed a tear, or just let out a sigh of exasperation whenever Tesla invariably returns to the news cycle. The electric vehicle manufacturer is one I’d personally like to see succeed as it’s pushed EV adoption to the mainstream. That said, Tesla—and Elon Musk in particular—really need to stop making random promises with the latest concerning a supposed Nurburgring Record Lap.
Last week, Porsche revealed the German manufacturer’s first-ever all-electric Taycan Turbo S. The car, a 750 horsepower middle finger to the internal combustion engine we all hold so dear, was revealed to hungry Porsche enthusiasts, eagerly awaiting the sports-oriented four-door and were treated with the news that it had blitzkrieged the torturous Nurburgring Norschielfe in just 7 minutes and 42 seconds.
After its debut incensed a number of online flame wars between Tesla- and Porsche-philes over who had the, um, biggest range and power, Tesla’s prodigious Tweeter-in-Chief Elon Musk congratulated Porsche on its achievement. And then immediately said the Fremont-based company would challenge Porsche’s Green Hell crown the following week—this week, to be exact—stating, “Tesla Model S on the Nurburgring next week.”
There’s was only one problem, the people that run the Nurburgring, yeah, they hadn’t been contacted by Tesla.
Speaking with Road & Track, Nurburgring officials said that no Tesla official had reached out to the track to secure lapping time for an official run. Furthermore, record-ready timeslots were booked for the rest of the season, meaning Tesla is definitely not going to be producing a record-setting run anytime in the near future.
Apparently, Elon just got the word that the Model S isn’t going to be doing anything near a record-run as he’s already back-tracking his comments on Twitter.
Prompted to speak on his Nurburgring comments after Musk stated that a Model S set the quickest time for a four-door sedan around California’s Laguna Seca racetrack, Musk then said, “Model S is already there” in the first tweet, but followed up with, “But we probably won’t try for best lap time this week, as we need to review & tune Model S thoroughly for safety on Nürburgring, especially Flugplatz section.”
Though Musk brushes off the idea that the scrapping of a record-attempt was his idea or due to needing time to “review and tune” the Model S in question, the real reason is that he never had secured anything and went off half-cocked.
Update: Tesla reached out to The Drive and informed us that the company worked out a deal with the Nurburgring officials over the last few days. According to the email, "Tesla is excited to be a part of the Industry Pool testing community next week at the Nürburgring. Our participation is confirmed and contracted by the Nürburgring."
As to what that entails, I'm not sure as both the Tesla spokesperson and Nurburgring officials declined to elaborate on the deal, the length of the contract, in what capacity Tesla was joining the pool, whether or not Tesla would be trying to secure a production EV record, or anything else.
Nurburgring officials responded to our questions with, "The only information I can give you is that Tesla joined the Industry Pool. The dates of the Industry Pool and details about the participants are still confidential and there won´t be any communication about this. If you want to know more about the program of Tesla you please need to contact them."
As for the Model S spied hanging out around the Nurburgring with a number of non-production modifications, including Michelin Cup 2 tires, a lowered stance, light-weight wheels, and some slight body modifications, the company could put these into production later or offer them as factory-installed options, much like the options Porsche offers.
That said, given the monumental undertaking of a Nurburgring run—we'll refer you to Volkswagen and Porsche's many years of 'Ring running and how much effort, time, and engineering it takes to even prepare for a record run, I still don’t expect Tesla to produce any time in the near future. The Nurburgring is a torture test and skill, time, and experience are needed so you don't end up beached on a k-rail. And with Winter bearing down on Germany in the coming weeks, a true run may be pushed until 2020.
It still, however, could happen. Musk's already sweet-talked his way into the Industry Pool testing. What's to say they won't go for a record? We’ll have to wait and see if Tesla can best Porsche’s Taycan Turbo S.