Earlier today some video was posted showing Tesla running a brand new Model S Plaid at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, and the presumption was that the California EV brand was aiming for a new record. The electric car production record at the ‘Ring was most recently claimed by Porsche with the Taycan Turbo in 2019 just before the car was officially launched, with the German entry running a 7:42.3. Today, as confirmed by company CEO and PR man Elon Musk on Twitter, the Plaid has run a 7:30.9. Not bad.
As impressive as this time is, there are a few caveats that need to be considered before heaping praise on the Plaid. First, while this is a new record for a production electric car, there are a handful of gasoline-powered sedans with less power which have already run quicker laps, like the Jaguar XE SV Project 8 (7:23.1) or the Porsche Panamera Turbo (7:29.81). It also does well to note that Porsche set its electric record with the Taycan Turbo, not the full-fat Turbo S, which could potentially still beat the Plaid’s lap. The most interesting thing about all this, in my eyes, however, is that Tesla allegedly set a hand-timed 7:24 lap with the Plaid prototype back in 2019, too!
Who’s sandbagging who, here?
None of this is meant to be a downer on Tesla, and realistically Nürburgring lap times are totally pointless anyway and add no meaning or value to a car, because the lap time is something the company has been working on for a few years, and finally managed to make happen. Set your goals and manifest them into the world, yo.
For good measure, let’s look at a short list of impressively fast cars that the Model S Plaid ran a quicker lap time than: 2007 Porsche 911 GT2, 2005 Koenigsegg CCR, 2021 Audi RS3, 2019 Renault Megane R.S. Trophy-R, Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. Any of those could be considered an impressive car, and the Plaid beat them all. There’s no word yet on who might have been driving the Plaid, but surely they’re an impressive talent at the wheel to pull off that kind of time. Of course the car still has a ways to go to catch up to the speed of a 2009 Nissan GT-R (7:29.0).