The brand new 2019 Jaguar I-Pace is a very promising electric car, and it just allegedly set a new lap record around Laguna Seca raceway, beating previous recorded lap times of the Tesla Model S and Tesla Model 3.
Jaguar set up the supposed record-setting run with Motor Trend and the magazine’s go-to racing driver Randy Pobst. Jaguar claims the I-Pace lapped the 11-turn road coarse in 1:48.18 completely stock, with no modifications. Jaguar and Motor Trend claim that’s a record for a “four-door stock production electric vehicle.”
Supposedly Motor Trend will be sharing more about the lap time next month, but here’s an onboard video:
Edited 8:50 p.m.: According to the list at refuelraces.com and as reported by Electrek, a Tesla Model S P100D, run by an engineer from Lucid Motors ironically enough, already did a faster lap time last month, claiming 1:47:62. Jalopnik has reached out to the engineer to ask if any modifications were made to the car for the lap, and to Jaguar to see what they have to say about it.
Update 10:15 p.m.: According to the engineer who drove the P100D in a message to Jalopnik, the car’s brake pads and braking fluid had been upgraded to better handle track conditions. Jaguar clarified to Jalopnik that they had already been aware of this, and maintain that they set the record for bone stock four-door electric production vehicle. The rest of the article continues below as originally published.
A Tesla Roadster set a time of 1;49:02, and another owner claiming to be the first person to take the Tesla Model 3 Long Range to Laguna Seca recorded a lap time of 1:57.50.
It’s good to hear that the new I-Pace can be lapped without overworking the batteries and entering some sort of limp mode, which was an issue for early Teslas. The Model 3 that ran Laguna Seca didn’t have this issue though, so it seems like EVs are finally reaching a point where performance impact during track driving is much less of a concern.
The I-Pace was also quicker than the Ford Focus ST, also piloted by Pobst, which set a time of 1:49.30 according to fastestlaps.com, but slower than Pobst in a Subaru WRX STI, which set a 1:47:16 time.
While setting a record at Laguna Seca for a very specific class of vehicle isn’t exactly Earth-shattering—if Jaguar did indeed set a record—it does signify that EVs are improving and automakers are open to playful competitiveness. Jaguar made sure to bring up its upcoming I-Pace e-Trophy racing series in the press release, as well.
Having briefly driven the I-Pace on a track back in June, I can say that it satisfies the typical expectation of a surging, uncanny acceleration, but you do feel its weight and a lot of engineering had to go into preventing understeer.
It didn’t make for the most engaging or exciting track experience, but considering how fat it is, it could handle its weight and more just fine. It will be interesting to see someone go after this time with the Model 3 Performance, though. I’m sure it won’t last long.