At Germany’s legendary Nürburgring race track, Tesla achieved a new lap record for the production of electric vehicles. A brand-new Model S Plaid lapped the 12.9-mile track in seven minutes and 30.9 seconds, surpassing a Porsche Taycan’s record set in 2019. Tesla CEO Elon Musk verified the new record on Twitter.
The Model S Plaid was “completely unaltered, [and] directly from [the] factory,” according to Musk. Tesla would return to the Nürburgring with a “modified Plaid with extra aero surfaces, carbon brakes & track tires,” he claimed in a follow-up tweet (all things that can be done without Tesla being in the loop).
It’s debatable how significant this achievement is for Tesla or any automaker for that matter. Porsche effectively created a new category in which to compete by setting the first record. Sean O’Kane, a motorsports analyst at The Verge, said in 2019:
The Nordschleife course at the Nürburgring is one of the most important battlegrounds for automakers. However, the track’s boundaries have mostly been explored throughout the years, so there’s not as much rarefied air left for firms claiming to be the fastest over the 12.9-mile course.
Tesla isn’t the first person to attempt to conquer the “Green Hell.” In the lead-up to its introduction as a production model, the business has driven test versions of the Model S Plaid around the famed race track. Those runs, however, were not intended to set any records; Musk described them as opportunities to “evaluate and adjust” the Model S Plaid for safety.
The Model S Plaid is driven by a new tri-motor engine that produces roughly 1,000 horsepower, and it has a top speed of 200 mph — but only when equipped with certain rims and tires that won’t be available until later this year.
Expert automobile reviewers, on the other hand, are not sure that the Plaid is worth the $130,000 price tag. Edmunds found that the new Model S was essentially a “marketing exercise designed to draw attention to an outdated car” after putting it through comprehensive testing.
What will Porsche do now is the question? The German automaker is unlikely to sit back and let Tesla simply steal its made-up record without a fight. The issue is that the Taycan isn’t nearly as speedy as the Model S Plaid. Take a peek at the standings.