Tesla Model S Plaid sets official ‘ring record

Tesla Model S Plaid sets official ‘ring record

09/10/2021

UPDATE – Tesla's lap is now verified by the Nordschleife. Watch a record breaking EV here

By Matt Bird / Friday, September 10, 2021 / Loading comments

There isn’t a Nurburgring lap that’s a dull watch, from breaking 10 minutes in a Citroen AX diesel to little more than half that in a Porsche 919. That’s definitely still true for the latest ‘ring record chaser, too, as the 1,020hp Tesla Model S Plaid has set a 7:35.579 lap. And that’s fast, whatever fuel is providing the power, and especially so for a car almost 10 years old and on the wrong side of two tonnes.

Some clarity, first off. Though the video description says, “official full lap”, this Model S Plaid doesn’t yet feature on the Nurburgring’s list of official lap times. Maybe it still has to be added, or maybe this isn’t as official as Tesla would have everyone believe.

Irrespective of that, it’s a staggering lap. The speed is just never ending; we’re used to EVs rocketing up to a certain speed and the acceleration tailing off, but the Plaid just never lets up. See the haul from Hatzenbach to Flugplatz, where the speedo just flicks over 230kph (143mph); it’s perhaps slower through there than we’ve seen some record breakers, before then trucking on to 265kph (165mph) before Schwedenkreuz. And then a rather unsettling correction mid-corner, which the yoke wheel doesn’t look ideal for…

In defence of the much-maligned wheel, it doesn’t seem to cause many more difficulties elsewhere, even in the slower sections and even with a lot of inputs being made. It may well still take some getting used to – parking could be tricky – but the yoke can manage a lap of the Nordschleife without too much drama. Which is far more important.

The Plaid’s is a new soundtrack for a Nordschleife lap, too. There have been electric records before, of course, though never one with so much tyre squeal – the rubber really is working hard against this much power and mass. A lack of engine noise means every creak and rattle inside the car can be heard, too; not as emotive as an engine, but worth listening out for.

So that’s the Tesla Model S Plaid, faster – in this case of this specific car, at least – than a Cayenne Turbo GT or an Audi RS3. Another big news story in a pretty significant week for EVs. Let’s hope that Nurburgring verification is along soon.


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