A Tesla Model S has set an informal lap time of 7:23 at the Nürburgring Nordschleife as per a hand-timed timing by a correspondent of German motoring publication Auto Motor und Sport.
The Tesla, which is testing the company’s new plaid battery system was to be fair, on street-legal race tires rather than conventional rubber, but even that had only a small part to play in beating Porsche’s publically-posted time of 7:42 – an almost 20-second difference.
Over-and-above that, the Model S looks to have the moxie to beat track times set by almost any petrol-powered production saloon car, the only exceptions possibly being limited production specials from Jaguar and BMW.
The noted difference in tyre technology is small, but significant. Both vehicles used legal production tyres – in the case of Porsche, likely either Goodyear’s Eagle F1, or Pirelli’s P-Zero’s, but Tesla ran on Michelin’s Pilot Sport Cup series tyres racing variant, which though street-legal, manufacturer Michelin says shaved half-a-second per lap over the Model S’ twenty-kilometre run.
But, even with a 10-second tyre advantage, the Model S would out-pace true production cars by Alfa Romeo, BMW, and Porsche’s Taycan performance-focussed “Turbo S” thanks its said, to Tesla’s “Plaid” power system, currently being tested ahead of production in 2020.
The three-motor, “Plaid powertrain” setup, along with track mode software should see the Model S go faster still, perhaps fast enough to challenge the limited production Jaguar XE SV Project 8, and BMW M4 GTS, or the Enzo Ferrari and the Pagani Zonda F Clubsport, each capable of lapping the Nordschleife in less than 7 minutes and 30 seconds.
These sports cars however, come with aggressive aerodynamics, and racing-style rear wings, with production limited to just a few-hundred of each, and thus are not likely to be considered true “production cars” to the Nurburgring-faithful.
According to Tesla CEO, Elon Musk:
We knew you'd want to see it for yourself. Here's the video, thanks to the autoevolution channel: