The brand-new Tesla Model S Plaid has clocked up another headline-grabbing debut, this time at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb race in Colorado, handily winning the Exhibition class on a shortened course.
Tesla’s Model S Plaid has been on our radars for a while now. Back in late-2019 the “Plaid” recorded a hand-stopped lap time of 7 minutes and 13 seconds – a full 10 seconds faster than the company’s own previous hand-stopped record.
Highlighting the tremendous speed and acceleration possible with electric vehicles, the Tesla Model S Plaid was officially launched earlier this month in a live-streamed event from the company’s Fremont factory. Boasting peak power of 1,020-horsepower, it has a top speed of 321km/h, and acceleration from 0 to 60 miles per hour of 1.99-seconds.
As Tesla CEO Elon Musk explained at the event, “We have to show that an electric car is the best car hands down – that sustainable energy cars can be the most kick-ass cars in every way.”
And, considering that Tesla was forced to raise the price of the Plaid to $A186,990, before on-road costs, it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing this particular Tesla model flooding the roads.
Nevertheless, the Tesla Model S Plaid’s speed is undeniable, as has been highlighted recently in a number of videos and articles demonstrating the vehicle’s heartbreaking acceleration, but maybe none more so than at this weekend’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado.
Though the race was shortened by 3 miles (around 4.8-kilometres) due to inclement weather and snow at the top of Pikes Peak – thus ensuring no records were going to be broken and requiring predictive analysis to compare race times with previous years’ races – this year’s return to Pikes Peak with an in-person crowd was witness to UK-native Robin Shute winning the 99th running of the race in his 2018 Wolf GB08 TSC-LT.
“It was actually bonkers,” said Shute following his run. “It was so fast, I surprised myself.”
“Despite the weather, I thought the hill was running pretty fast,” Shute said. “As we got up to Devil’s (Playground), I thought it was losing a bit of grip in the mist, but otherwise it was pretty good.”
American race car driver and journalist Randy Pobst, who was driving a 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid named Dark Helmet, continuing the homage to the movie ‘Spaceballs’ finished over a minute behind the time of the Hill Climb’s winner, at 6 minutes 57.220 seconds and an average speed of 80.159,.
That was enough to be declared winner of the Exhibition classification, finishing 17.5 seconds ahead of the next best finisher in the classification.
You can watch a full 360° video of the full run from inside the Tesla Model S Plaid below (if you’re on a laptop or PC, use your mouse to swivel the video’s camera):
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.