Modified Tesla Model S Prototype Unofficially Laps Nurburgring Faster Than Porsche Taycan: Report
And not by a small margin, either.
When Porsche announced that its Taycan electric sedan had completed a lap around the 12.8-mile Nurburgring Nordschleife in just 7 minutes and 42 seconds, the world became a little bit more interesting. Not only had the German sports car builder recognized that battery power had matured enough to be an alternative to gasoline, but it had also proven that it could be fun by 'rounding the 'Ring just as fast as a 911 GT3. Of course, Porsche wasn't the first automaker to show off just how enjoyable electric propulsion could be.
It didn't take long for Tesla CEO Elon Musk to hear about Porsche's record. Almost immediately, Musk took to Twitter for an announcement that Tesla would also be gunning for a Nurburgring record the following week.
Tesla accelerated its efforts to bring its flagship EVs to the German proving grounds. Within a week, the automaker became a member of the Nurburgring's Industry Pool and shipped over a pre-production Model S with a new drivetrain that's beyond ludicrous—it's plaid.
The Plaid designation is a reference to the cult classic Spaceballs, a movie which Musk often references in his tweets. But in the case of Tesla's cars, it refers to a rather public prototype that the company says unofficially bested the record for the quickest lap in a four door sedan at at Laguna Seca by more than a second. Another version of the three-motor Plaid car was reportedly spotted near the 'Ring in recent days, keeping the spy photographers on their toes.
Apparently, it also called for them to be on their stop watches. As Auto Motor und Sport reports, photographer Stefan Bauldauf was able to time the Model S lapping the ‘Ring at 7 minutes and 23 seconds. While not an official time, it's still 19 seconds faster than the Taycan managed to lap the same track.
"It’s a start," wrote Musk on Twitter in a response to the rumored lap time. "We expect these track times to be beaten by the actual production 7 seat Model S Plaid variant that goes into production around Oct/Nov next year."
Many might write off Tesla's efforts due to the Model S being a pre-production unit, but it's important to note that the Taycan which set the 7:42 lap record was as well. But, as Jalopnik has pointed out, there are still many unknowns about the car and equipment that Tesla used to set such a low run time.
While Tesla's Taycan-thrashing time is presently unofficial, the electric automaker still has some time left at the track over the next several weeks. According to Auto Motor und Sport, Tesla might not need that long to set a record—it’s said to be planning an officiated lap time within the next few days.