Noise about Tesla’s mission to record a fastest time at the Nürburgring Nordschleife may have died down but the Californian carmaker has been plugging away at testing on the German test track and has now come away with a new record time.
According to a report from German car site Auto Motor und Sport, a “Plaid” tri-motor Model S recorded a 7:13 minute lap – not once, but twice.
The handstopped lap time is a full 10 seconds faster than its own previous handstopped record, and nearly a half minute faster than the original lap time by the Porsche Taycan it was ostensibly trying to beat.
The Model S’ appearance on the Nordschleife was actually aimed at optimising the new drivetrain dubbed “Plaid” by CEO and co-founder Elon Musk (a reference to cult film Spaceballs) during “Industry Pool” events commonly held at the track.
However, a person who was at the track recently told Auto Motor und Sport that the carmaker was able to use the track while it was free and managed to achieve the new timing.
Driving the blue Tesla Model S that completed the new lap time sat designated Nordschleife expert and racing driver Thomas Mutsch.
While there were originally two vehicles present at the track, just days ago colleague Andreas Simonsen crashed the other red Model S into barriers – Simonsen was not injured but the crash put the red vehicle out of play.
In its place, Tesla relied on the blue Plaid Model S which featured in the early days of testing in September sporting a powerful diffuser, a small rear spoiler and a modified front apron, flared wheel arches and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Cup R sports tires.
Public interest in whether the Tesla Model S or the Porsche Taycan – the German carmaker’s first electric vehicle that was launched in September – is the fastest has reached fever pitch.
As The Driven reported on Friday, UK car show Top Gear pitted the two vehicles against each other claiming that the Porsche Taycan beat Tesla’s flagship electric sedan.
This has been disputed by drag racing expert Brooks from Youtube channel DragTimes, stating that the Model S times used were from a 2017 race against a Mercedes-AMG e63 S.
Top Gear responded saying they used the 2017 numbers because they were in fact the fastest figures they had for the Model S – but controversy still abounds with questions over whether the Model S was in fact in Range Mode (which conserves energy) rather than Ludicrous Mode (for maximum power output).
While the racing conditions for the Nürburgring Nordschleife are vastly different to a drag race, the question of which vehicle is superior in speed, acceleration and endurance has certainly captured the attention of many.
The most recent handstopped time from the Nordschleife cannot be considered an official record either, and no doubt the Model S vs Taycan clamour will continue.
Tesla CEO and co-founder says that the Plaid drivetrain will be available in a 7-seater Model S that the carmaker begins building in October/November 2020. For now, Tesla is heading is home, having apparently packed up even its mobile supercharger.
Correction: A previous version of this article said that Tesla had attached a rear spoiler.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.