A Model S equipped a ‚Plaid‘ powertrain (think Ludicrous mode but Spaceballs) has set a new record on the Laguna Seca Raceway in California. More so, the electric car has already been spotted testing at the Nürburgring in Germany.
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According to Tesla, the new Plaid drive will go into production in about a year and will be offered for the Model S, Model X and the new Roadster 2, but not Model 3 or Y. The new powertrain “Will cost more than our current offerings, but less than competitors,” says Tesla, likely referring to the recently presented Porsche Taycan.
During the test drives on the Californian race track of Laguna Seca, a Model S with the Plaid drive was one second faster than the previous record for a four-door sedan, as Tesla was quick to announce in a tweet (below). With the current model S P100D, Tesla drove a time of 1:43 minutes last year, so the time of 1:36.555 for the new model is a significant increase.
Tesla has not released any data on the Plaid drive or the modifications to the Model S chassis. Elon Musk has only said they would publish more details “soon”. In true Musk fashion, the title “Plaid” – like the “Ludicrous” mode – is a reference to the movie Spaceballs.
Already last week, after the world premiere of the Porsche Taycan and the previously achieved Nordschleife record (7:42 minutes for four-door sedans), Musk had announced that a Model S would arrive at the Nürburgring in Germany this week. This is apparently already happening – but an attempt to break the Porsche record has not been made yet.
At Germany’s famous Nürburgring, which boasts the title of the longest permanent race track in the world, Tesla is registered for the so-called “Industry Pool” drives. Tests may be carried out but no record attempts can be made – i.e. set-up drives before the targeted record lap.red In the meantime, two slots for a possible record attempt are becoming clear: on Saturday 21 September, all tourist and track taxi rides will be cancelled for two hours so that Tesla has a clear run. On Wednesday, 25 September, the track will be reserved for Tesla again between 17:00 and 17:45 hrs.
Update 18.09.2019: Tesla plans to start production of the Model S with the three-engine “Plaid” engine in October or November 2020, while the Model X and the new Roadster will not start production until a later date. The Model S will also feature Tesla’s earlier 5+2 seat configuration. These are two additional rear-facing seats. Unlike in the past, however, these two seats will now also be able to accommodate “taller people”.
Update 19.09.2019: After Tesla apparently undercut Porsche’s previous record lap with the Taycan on the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring by about 20 seconds with a Model S with “Plaid” drive, Porsche could still have an ace up its sleeve: Porsche’s time was achieved with a Taycan Turbo and not with the more powerful Taycan Turbo S. So it is quite possible that Porsche will try to set a new record. Tesla has meanwhile set up a supercharger at the Nürburgring. Until now, Tesla allegedly had to resort to a diesel generator to charge its Model S.
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