Porsche’s tit-for-tat with Tesla on the hallowed ground of the Green Hell continues, as the German automaker announced Wednesday that it set a new EV lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife: 7:33.3. Porsche’s Lars Kern was behind the wheel of a Taycan Turbo S for the run, which beat the previous record — set in a Tesla Model S Plaid — by 2.3 seconds.
As typical when we discuss Nürburgring record attempts, we need to talk about how this particular Taycan was specced. Porsche says it was fitted with the German-market exclusive “new performance kit” and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control. The roll cage and racing seats were required; otherwise, it was stock. From the company’s press release:
The performance kit includes 21-inch RS-Spyder-design wheels with road-approved, Pirelli P Zero Corsa sports tyres that are now available for the Taycan. Their tyre compound is similar to that of racing tyres. Another element of the performance kit is a software update to the Porsche 4D Chassis Control so that it works in harmony with the sports tyres. The system analyses and synchronises all the chassis systems of the Taycan in real time. “In the past, only thoroughbred super sports cars got into the 7:33 range,” says Kern. “With the new performance kit I was able to push even harder, and the car was even more precise and agile to boot.”
This is a 5,100-pound sedan on the absolute limit, and it’s pretty incredible to watch. About a decade ago, the sub-7:40 range would have been the domain of a 997-generation 911 GT3; today, sedans are pulling off those times with ease, with and without electrification.
The current four-door record is a 7:20.2 belonging to the BMW M4 CSL, claimed just this past April. Before that, the Jaguar Project 8 — a low-production, track-focused variant of the XE compact four-door — topped the leaderboard in 2019, turning in a 7:23.
We’ll have to wait and see if Tesla attempts to answer back. When the Model S Plaid claimed the category record last September, it had taken the spot from a Taycan Turbo — sans “S” — and beat Porsche’s lap by about 12 seconds.
That Plaid’s 7:30.1 time would appear to be faster than the one Porsche announced today, but it’s important to note that Tesla had set it on a slightly shorter configuration of the Nordschleife, omitting the small straight between the entry to the Grand Prix course and the start of Turn 13. That wasn’t Tesla being sly; it was the popular method of measuring Nürb lap times before a few years ago. The Green Hell invites pedantry.