Tesla fan Jay Leno takes the Model S Plaid for a record-breaking spin

Credit: CNBC Television

Tesla fan and automotive enthusiast Jay Leno went from talking about the 1/4-mile record performance of the Model S Plaid to driving it on a dragstrip, a new interview from CNBC reveals. Leno had the opportunity to drive the world’s fastest production vehicle for a spin with the help of Tesla Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen.

Interestingly, rumors of the 1/4-mile dragstrip time were circulating through the Tesla community like wildfire. After the near face-melting performance made its rounds through various outlets, Leno appeared on an episode of Spike’s Car Radio podcast and talked about the record, which he effectively confirmed. The initial consensus was that a Model S Plaid ran a world-record 9.247-second quarter-mile drag with a top speed of 152.09 MPH. The record was previously held by the Bugatti Chiron Sport set in 2018. The Bugatti completed the 1/4-mile in 9.4 seconds with a speed of 158 MPH.

Leno confirmed the record and said:

“I’ll tell you what I did. I went up to Famoso Dragway in Bakersfield. And the Tesla Plaid…I drove by, and the NHRA guy was there to make it official. It turned a 9.247, at 152 MPH.”

It appears that Leno, who has had special privileges thanks to an evident friendship with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, then had the opportunity to experience the speed and acceleration of the Model S Plaid on the dragstrip all for himself. An episode of Jay Leno’s Garage on MSNBC shows that Leno got behind the wheel and took the newly-unveiled Model S Plaid to the strip.

In an interview on The News with Shepard Smith, Leno talked about the 1/4-mile run. “It was a winner,” the former late-night television host said. “I mean, it is now the fastest production car you can buy. Faster than any Ferrari, faster than any $3.5 million Bugatti.”

The Model S Plaid is one of Tesla’s most impressive machines. With a 1.99-second 0-60 MPH time and a tremendous 390 miles of range, the Model S Plaid is one of the most well-rounded vehicles available to buyers if they’re willing to chalk up $129,900 for the vehicle. Tesla also kept its safety-first mentality with the newly-redesigned Model S, which was the company’s flagship sedan when it first rolled off production lines in 2012. Musk, in a presentation to an exclusive group of invitees, highlighted the Model S Plaid’s already-revolutionary safety, but the company plans to improve even further. “We think we can get the lowest probability of [injury] any car ever tested,” Musk said.

Unfortunately, the new season of Jay Leno’s Garage won’t premier until this Fall, so Tesla enthusiasts won’t get to see what time Leno actually ran during his 1/4-mile attempt in the Model S Plaid. Fortunately, though, Tesla has already solidified itself as a solid contender to hold the record for some time, especially with its continuing tradition of high-end performance combined with luxury automotive designs.

Check out Leno’s full interview with Shepard Smith below.

Joey Klender: Joey has been a journalist covering electric mobility at TESLARATI since August 2019. In his time at TESLARATI, Joey has broken several big stories, including the first images of the Tesla Model S Plaid, the imminent release of the 4680 Model Y through EPA certification, and several expansions to the Lucid AMP-1 factory in Arizona, to name a few. His stories have been featured in several publications, including Yahoo! Finance, Fox News, CNET, and Seeking Alpha. In his spare time, Joey is playing golf, watching MMA, or cheering on any of his favorite sports teams, including the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles, Miami Heat, Washington Capitals, and Penn State Nittany Lions. You can get in touch with joey at joey@teslarati.com. He is also on Twitter @KlenderJoey.
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