Tesla Didn't Have Laguna Seca Officiate Its Alleged Record Model S Lap Time: Report

Photo: Tesla
Photo: Tesla

After making a bunch of noise on Twitter about taking the Tesla Model S to the German Nürburgring after the Porsche Taycan set a record there, Tesla instead claimed it set a record time for a sedan around Laguna Seca. The only problem is the track reportedly did not officiate it, so their time didn’t “officially” break any record. You can’t make this stuff up.


Yesterday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced a Model S had set a lap record around Laguna Seca, and later released a video allegedly showing the car make a time of 1:36.555.

This would beat the previous record for a production performance sedan of 1:37.54 set by the Jaguar XE SV back in 2018.

The Jag’s record was officially set by racing driver and Motor Trend contributor Randy Pobst, who holds quite a few impressive records and lap times around that track.

But Tesla’s time, CNBC reports, was not official, as nobody from Laguna Seca was witness to the record attempt to officiate it:

But a spokesperson for Laguna Seca wrote in an e-mail to CNBC: “We were not officiating while the Tesla was testing on the track. Official records only happen during sanctioned events where a sanctioning body is officiating.”

Tesla said it had no further information to offer about the Laguna Seca lap at this time.


So Tesla may have the claim, and the video to back up the claim, but it doesn’t have the track’s sign-off on an official time. So while the Twitter archives will remember the Model S for beating a recored lap time around Laguna Seca, the time is, in fact, not one for the record books.

It’s all kind of an odd development, Musk’s newfound quest for lap time glory. From our perspective it feels like he’s a bit threatened by the potential of the electric Porsche Taycan, said to be the fastest EV around the Nürburgring. Not long after the production Taycan dropped, Musk tweeted that a Model S would be headed to that track for a record attempt too. (Also: don’t we all already know the Model S is fast? I mean, nobody’s disputing that.)


But it’s worth noting Tesla also didn’t initially reserve a private slot for the Nürburgring attempt, instead having to sign up for the industry testing period which would mean they’d be sharing the ‘Ring with other automakers, as we reported yesterday. Apparently Tesla may have now reserved a private slot to have a shot at the ‘Ring record time with a clear course, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens.


There is a heavily modified red Model S currently at the ‘Ring—which looks pretty sweet with its aftermarket wheels, dark tinting and rolled fenders, as snapped by InsideEVs—but the attempt to beat the Porsche supposedly has been pushed back for further safety testing.


All of this is mostly pointless and useless information, but as my colleague David Tracy pointed out to me this morning, as electric vehicles continuously trump combustion engine vehicles in performance and the industry shifts further to battery power, companies are going to lose a lot of the tangible qualities like engine note, transmission gearing, fuel type, etc. that they can currently lean on to differentiate their vehicles from the competition.

With EVs, companies will have to turn to styling and outright performance, so we’ll likely only be getting more and more of these silly time-beating shenanigans.


More on this as we get it today.

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik



Yet another example when shutting the fuck up and staying off Twitter would’ve been waaaaay more beneficial.