Tesla Model 3 takes on the Nurburgring, approaches Porsche Taycan-level lap time

(Credit: Unplugged Performance)

Back in August 2019, Porsche made headlines when it revealed that its all-electric Taycan Turbo had been able to complete a lap around the Nürburgring in 7 minutes 42 seconds, well below the company’s target time of sub-8 minutes. The feat was celebrated by the EV community, and even Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who poked fun at the vehicle’s “Turbo” moniker, stated that the Taycan “does seem like a good car.” Musk added that the Taycan Turbo’s “Nürburgring track time is great.”

The Porsche Taycan Turbo’s 7:42 lap around the Nürburgring was widely celebrated because very few production electric cars are capable of performing at optimum around the unforgiving nearly-13-mile track. The Nürburgring is dubbed the “Green Hell” for a reason, and one of these is that it is a track that has the potential to take its toll on both drivers and cars alike. It was then cause for celebration when Porsche, with its decades of racing experience, finally proved that even production EVs could run an impressive lap around the Nürburgring. 

What is rather remarkable is that a Tesla Model 3 Performance, a vehicle that quite literally costs a fraction of the Taycan Turbo, seems to be on track to close in on the Taycan Turbo’s lap. During a run around the Nürburgring with traffic and on wet pavement, the Tesla Model 3 Performance was able to complete a lap (bridge-to-gantry) around the Nürburgring in 7:44. This was made possible by rather simple upgrades to the vehicle, such as better suspension and brakes. 

Quite interestingly, the Model 3 Performance that ran a 7:44 in the Nürburgring was the same vehicle that made the rounds in the EV community back in September. Back then, the vehicle, which was partially modified, was driven around the Nürburgring by YouTube auto reviewer Misha Charoudin. That run, which became quite meme-worthy due to the reactions of the vehicle’s passenger, was completed in 8 minutes 10 seconds. 

The vehicle has since been undergoing more improvements from Tesla tuning house Unplugged Performance. As noted by Unplugged CEO Ben Schaffer, the Model 3 Performance had received some upgrades to its suspension, brakes, and wheels. And with these modifications, the Model 3 Performance took to the track once more with driver Luis Ramirez behind the wheel. The result was the all-electric sedan’s 7:44 lap with traffic and on wet pavement. 

In a statement to Teslarati, Schaffer remarked that the Model 3 could probably beat the Taycan Turbo’s lap time with a street tune. At its full potential, the Unplugged CEO estimates that the Model 3 Performance may actually be capable of running a lap around the Green Hell in the 7:30 range. If that were to pass, it would most definitely be more difficult to dismiss the capabilities of electric vehicles in a racetrack. The Model 3, after all, is a reasonably-priced electric car, and even with its modifications included, very few vehicles in its price range could accomplish a 7:44 lap around the Nürburgring in similar conditions. 

Here’s the Model 3 Performance’s previous 8:10 lap around the Green Hell.

Simon Alvarez: Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.
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