Did a Tesla Model S Plaid Just Set the Quarter-Mile Record for Production Cars?

A Canadian outlet posted—then promptly deleted—a story claiming the Model S Plaid scored a 9.23 second quarter-mile.

byLewin Day|
Electric Vehicles photo

Tesla's Model S has long been one of the performance queens of the electric car scene, with scorching launches in Ludicrous mode delivering lighting fast 0-60 times. The company aims to take things up a notch with the new Tesla Model S Plaid, which lovingly references 1987's sci-fi classic Spaceballs. Of course, automakers can make all the wild claims in the world, but without evidence, they don't really stack up. A recent article posted—and promptly deleted—by Drive Tesla Canada suggest the electric automaker is putting the new model through its paces ahead of its launch later this year. Why the deletion? We don't know yet, but thankfully, Google's cache servers have preserved the evidence.

The Canadian outlet posted an article concerning testing at Autoclub Famoso Raceway, a drag strip approximately four hours south of Tesla's Fremont factory in California. Drive Tesla Canada quote an anonymous source who claims that a Tesla Model S Plaid in Midnight Silver set an official quarter mile time of 9.23 seconds with a trap speed of 152.16 miles per hour. 


The solitary image posted shows a silver Model S on the famous drag strip, with an onlooker holding a phone in the foreground. The low resolution available makes it difficult to make out clearly, but the car does appear to have a similar rear end to photos posted of the new Model S Plaid earlier this year. The story from Drive Tesla Canada does head further towards the fantastic, however. Reportedly, Jay Leno was present at the strip, filming the session for his show, Jay Leno's Garage. Jay is reported to have set a time himself of 9.50 seconds down the quarter mile, albeit with two passengers on board, resulting in the higher ET. While Leno is known to appreciate Tesla's vehicles, and it's not outside the realms of possibility, as always, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. 

Drive Tesla Canada
Drive Tesla Canada

Based on drag racing rules of thumb, the trap speed quoted is in the ballpark for a low-9 second ET, which checks out. The 9.23 second quarter mile handily eclipses the record currently held by the Bugatti Chiron Sport with a 9.4 second pass. It also comes in ahead of the low-volume drag racing special Dodge Demon, which posts a 9.65 second quarter mile when suitably juiced up with the appropriate racing fuel.

We'll just have to wait and see if the Model S Plaid really does live up to the hype. With Tesla promising 1,100 horsepower, a 200mph top speed, and 520 miles of range, it's certainly a world-beater on paper. With that said, a single poorly-focused photo and hearsay on the Internet does not a world record make. If the story is based on reality, we expect that Tesla will release data and video to support the claim in due time when the Model S Plaid gets closer to launch. It's unlikely they'd miss an opportunity to crow about performance credentials, particularly as competitors like the Porsche Taycan are flooding into the market for high performance electric vehicles. Keep your ears open for more on this soon.

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