Model S

Tesla Model S Plaid sets new record at the Nürburgring in final run for the year

A Tesla Model S prototype on the Nurburgring. (Photo: Auto Motor Uund Sport)

Recent reports from German motoring publication Auto Motor und Sport have revealed that the blue Tesla Model S Plaid prototype has broken the company’s previous unofficial record on the Nurburgring, with the vehicle completing a lap around the track in 7:13. The Model S was able to accomplish this feat not just once, but twice. 

What is even more impressive was that Tesla accomplished this feat with a unit that previously completed a 7:40 lap around the Nurburgring in September. During that time, Tesla was able to finish a reported hand-stopped lap of 7:23, though it used its red Model S Plaid prototype, a vehicle that unfortunately crashed during a hot lap in recent weeks. Fortunately, the red Model S’ driver, Andreas Simonsen, was unharmed during the accident.  

As noted by the publication, the blue Model S Plaid prototype was driven around the Nurburgring by Nordschleife expert and racing driver Thomas Mutsch. For its record-setting runs, the Model S was equipped with its large rear diffuser and a small rear spoiler. A large spoiler spotted by photographers previously had reportedly been removed by Tesla after a short session around the track. The vehicle was equipped with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Cup R sports tires for its record-setting runs as well. 

Blue Tesla Model S with Plaid Powertrain returns to the Nurburgring. (Credit: Teslarati)

That being said, the blue Plaid Tesla Model S’ two 7:13 records are still unofficial lap times for the vehicle. Thus, for now at least, the electric car maker simply has the knowledge that its upgraded Tesla Model S is capable of beating the already-stellar 7:23 record it set for itself during its first excursion into the track over a month ago. Nevertheless, the blue Plaid Model S’ recent unofficial record is still 8 seconds shy of the 7:05 estimate that Tesla announced on Twitter when it left the Nurburgring for the first time in late September. 

Auto Motor und Sport noted that the Tesla team has departed the iconic German racetrack for now, with the team likely not coming back this year. The two vehicles used for the test — the red Model S Plaid that crashed, as well as the blue Plaid unit that set the 7:13 record — are reportedly being sent home to the United States. With this in mind, it appears that Tesla might be preparing to return to the Nurburgring with new Model S Plaid units next year, perhaps finally ready to set its own official lap record. 

A blue Tesla Model S Plaid unit with new aeros attacks the Nurburgring. (Photo: Stefan Baldauf/Auto Motor Uund Sport)

What is particularly interesting is that Tesla’s new unofficial lap time around the Nurburgring is already 29 seconds faster than the Porsche Taycan Turbo prototype that set an unofficial 7:42 record of its own around the German racetrack prior to the all-electric sports car’s official release. Considering that the blue Model S Plaid reportedly left the track last September with a 7:40 lap, the vehicle’s current 7:13 time is quite a notable improvement. 

After all, it appears that Tesla was testing two Plaid Model S variants in the Nurburgring this time around. Based on the initial track times of the two prototypes, it appears that Tesla was actually benchmarking the red and blue Model S against each other. And between the two vehicles, it almost seemed like the blue Plaid Model S was the more conservatively-specced vehicle. Either way, Tesla’s return next year would likely be incredibly exciting, as the company would likely come back with a vehicle that will be very close to the actual production Plaid Model S that’s set for release next year. 

At 7:13, Tesla’s Model S Plaid prototype has already exceeded the lap time of the 2018 Jaguar XE SV Project 8, which completed the Nurburgring in a blazing-fast 7:21. That’s the fastest four-door vehicle around the Nurburgring to date, not counting the prototype monster that Porsche brought over to the track recently, the Panamera “Lion” project, which reportedly completed a 7:11 lap. Quite interestingly, it appears that no laps have been done by Porsche with the Taycan Turbo S as of yet.

Tesla Model S Plaid sets new record at the Nürburgring in final run for the year
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