The race for the fastest electric sedan around the Nürburgring maybe just got a hell of a lot more interesting. In August, Porsche’s first foray into EVs, the Taycan Turbo, nailed a 7:42 lap time, winning the crown for quickest four-door electric around the storied track. Then Elon Musk and Tesla showed up. Now what we’re hearing from the ’Ring is a Model S may have pulled a very unofficial 7:23 lap done by hand timing, which if true and can be repeated (or beaten) for the official lap will blow Porsche out of the water.
Or off the graffiti-covered tarmac, in this case.
This unofficial time comes from two places: veteran ’Ring spy shooter Stefan Bauldauf, who took those photos above, and Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport. Both timed the lap by hand.
From AMuS’ story, including who was behind the wheel, and pardon the somewhat clunky Google translation:
At the wheel: Thomas Mutsch, VLN driver and proven Nordschleife expert who already sat behind the wheel during the testing of the SCG 003 project of the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus. The driver squad is complemented by Andreas Simonsen, who races in the VLN for the Porsche Team Huber with a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with start number 80. So he brings a lot of Nordschleife experience. Third driver is the Swede Carl Rydquist.
A nearly 20 second quicker time on the ’Ring is, of course, completely bonkers, especially for a manufacturer that has not been part of the track’s industry pool and has not done official testing here before.
Two big questions arise from this report. First, what car was Tesla using here?
If this time was set by a regular, off-the-shelf Model S P100D, that’s mind-blowing. But if it was a new type of Model S, a prototype for the supposedly upcoming three-motor P100D+, that’s a slightly different story, as that car isn’t out yet. (But if so, it’s a guarantee that car should be absurdly fast.) The car Auto Motor und Sport photographed was wearing a P100D+ badge. Take that as you will for right now.
The other big unknown has to do with tires.
We initially saw photos of one car with Michelin Sport Cup 2 R tires, and those are not an option on any Model S from the factory. Now we hear the car (or cars) are using Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport RS tires, the most extreme race-focused but road legal tires Goodyear makes. It’s not immediately clear which tires the Taycan Turbo used, but I will update this post when I get that information. (Update: A Porsche spokesman tells me the Taycan Turbo record car ran stock, production 21-inch summer tires, which would’ve been either Goodyear Eagle F1s or Pirelli P-Zeros.)
The last time we asked Tesla about any of this, we were told it wasn’t releasing any new information yet.
There’s a lot we still don’t know here, least of all the official time. As Jalopnik contributor, race car driver and Nürburgring expert (and part-time ‘Ring resident) Robb Holland wrote last week, we went into this eager to see what Tesla could do, but with a good deal of concerns over safety, experience and truly understanding what a ’Ring record run entails.
After all, Musk didn’t initially tell the track what was happening, and it seemed like the runs would happen during industry pool sessions. But if Tesla’s blown past Porsche on the first attempt, then it deserves all the credit in the world. Holland, like us, is awaiting more details on the official time, the specs on the car and what tires were used.
Auto Motor und Sport says Tesla will be at the ’Ring for the next three weeks, and that official lap attempts may happen on Wednesday and Saturday. I’m eager to see what happens next.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said Porsche’s Taycan Turbo S set the Nürburgring record. It was the Taycan Turbo, not the S.