Sparesbox Blog

Tesla Model S "Plaid" Laps Porsche Taycan at Nurburgring

By Mitch Babbs

Wed Nov 06 2019

Despite Elon Musk’s recent claims that the Tesla Model S is only still in production for ‘sentimental reasons’, it appears the vehicle is still winning peopler over all across the world, as well as breaking a few hearts in the process.

In the ever-expanding contest for EV supremacy, a new battleground has opened up in an unexpected corner of the globe. The Nordschleife Nurburgring, long regarded as one of the proving grounds of performance motoring, has recently been the site of the newest chapter in the storied Porsche Taycan and Tesla rivalry.

Tesla’s new prototype Model S “Plaid” lapped the Nurburgring in a very timely 07:13 not once but twice, beating out Porsche’s 07:42 time achieved in the Taycan as well as knocking 10 seconds off their own previous lap record. Porsche, as you might recall, recently claimed that the Taycan was the fastest production EV sedan in the world.

The feat was performed by Thomas Mutsch, a professional driver intimately familiar with the track, having recently won multiple 24-hour races around the Green Hell. While the time of 07:13 is incredible (and puts it remarkably close to the under-seven minute mark line, normally the line of demarcation between supercars and the rest of the field), there are a few asterisks on that time.

Firstly, while Auto Motor und Sport’s report is the source of the flurry of interest, neither Tesla nor the track itself have officially confirmed the time (at this stage).

Secondly, the Model S in question is not, by any means, what you might call a production vehicle. The “Plaid” distinction in its name refers to the presence of an additional electric motor (taking the number in the vehicle from 2 to 3). And while this is a major distinction, it’s still small fries compared to the rest of the improvements the vehicle has undergone. 

Featuring revised aero, larger brakes and a seemingly wider overall track covered by flared wheel arches, this isn’t exactly the Model S that will be rolling out of Tesla’s Gigafactory even with the prototype Plaid powertrain that’s expected to enter production sometime in 2020.

Beyond that, however, is the tyres that Tesla’s test car used to achieve such an impressive time. The wheels in use were race compounds, wrapped in sticky Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport RS sports tyres, which typically afford a vehicle a -10 second time advantage. So, go ahead and take the PB distinction off Tesla’s effort, but remember it still outpaced the Taycan by 20 seconds.

At this stage, even with the asterisks, it does still appear to be a notch in Tesla’s belt. One thing is for sure though, this won’t be the last you see of the two heavyweight car manufacturers duking it out for EV supremacy.