Tesla Model S Plaid Claims New Nurburgring Record for EVs Beating Porsche’s Taycan


We’re not in the business of calling out other people’s opinions, but we felt that was extremely harsh. And since the relationship between that publication and Tesla is notoriously rocky, we suspected it was a little biased too. It’s easy to focus on the bad features of a car and ignore all the good ones. Well, the absolutely brilliant ones, in Plaid’s case.

We could say we had inside information from Tesla that it would be breaking the news on its record-smashing run at the Nürburgring as early as yesterday, which further spurred our defense of the EV, but we’d be lying. Like everyone else, we knew the Plaid was in Germany furiously lapping the Green Hell, but we were just as surprised as anyone to see Elon Musk’s tweet from last night (Germany time, presumably) announcing the 7:30.909 lap time – or 7:35.579, depending on which of the loop lengths you want to count.

Assuming you don’t know these things by heart, you’re probably wondering what times have other EVs set and how does Tesla’s compare to them (well, we just called it “a record”, so there’s a hint). Particularly, you’re wondering about the Porsche Taycan Turbo S since we all know that’s the production EV that’s most likely to cause trouble.

Sadly, Porsche never brought the Turbo S out on the ‘Ring, but only the less powerful Turbo. However, it was enough to give the German electric sedan the title for the fastest EV around Nordschleife with a time of 7:42.34, a record that’s been standing for a little over two years now.

Well, after a long time spent at the famous German track, Tesla was finally ready to announce the Plaid’s best lap time. The important bit: it’s quicker than the Porsche Taycan Turbo. The less impressive bit: it’s not that much quicker, and it’s nowhere near the 7:13 result Tesla claimed for a pre-production Plaid back in 2019, if we remember correctly. Back then, the company even claimed a 7:05 time was possible, but then again Tesla claims a lot of things that aren’t true but put it in a favorable light.

So, are we to expect a comeback from Porsche? Did the Germans only publish the Taycan Turbo’s time so they could keep something in reserve? Given the tiny gap (for a track this size), we wouldn’t be surprised if the Turbo S could beat that time and, considering it has only two motors (to the Plaid’s three) and about 300 horsepower less, it would say something about Porsche’s chassis. Then again, you would expect that from Porsche.

Finally, there is a little bit to be said about the Model S Plaid’s “unmodified” claim. We have the footage down below that shows a Plaid lapping the ‘Ring with the yoke in place, but at the same time, there are pictures of a red Model S on the same track with a conventional steering wheel in its place. We can’t say which of the two configurations was used for the record run, but if it’s the latter, can we just say, “HA!”. Not only would that eliminate any doubt over how daft the decision to have the new steering device fitted was (after Randy Pobst had already replaced it with a wheel for his Pikes Peak climb earlier this year), but it would also technically void the attempt since the car wasn’t completely stock.

What it wouldn’t do, though, is make the Tesla Model S Plaid slow. We’re not trying to take anything away from the EV’s run, just putting all the (confusing) information out there.

Tesla Model S Plaid just set official world speed record for a production electric car at Nurburgring. Completely unmodified, directly from factory. pic.twitter.com/AaiFtfW5Ht

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 9, 2021 “Completely unmodified” https://t.co/KviuaySIpS pic.twitter.com/zlwUfIopm3

— ????????/???????? (@coreyforde) September 9, 2021