Randy Pobst will drive this insane Tesla Model S Plaid at Pikes Peak
The 1,020 hp electric saloon has been extensively modified by Unplugged Performance for the legendary hillclimb event
The Tesla Model S Plaid has barely even started being delivered to paying customers, but the Plaid hype just won't stop for anyone any time soon. On 12 June, 2 days after deliveries of factory-spec Plaids officially started, Unplugged Performance announced that it had not only created a race-prepared version of the car but would also be entering it into the 2021 edition of the legendary Pikes Peak hillclimb! This will be Unplugged Performance's second entry into the event (it ran a modified Model 3 back in 2020) and its entry will once again be piloted by Randy Pobst.
Image: Randy Pobst/Instagram
The car was revealed at Unplugged Performance's annual Hypercar Invitational event, which happened at Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca, where Randy Pobst took the car out for some laps on the track. Before shattering the front splitter on his second lap of the day, Pobst was able to get the massively powerful electric hyper saloon to pass multiple big-name performance cars. This included several Porsches, Lamborghinis and McLarens!
Unplugged Performance hasn't done anything at all to the standard drivetrain which, let's be honest, is more than powerful enough at 1,020 hp! The body is also completely stock, save for the enormous front splitter and adjustable rear wing that have been added to create as much downforce as possible. Where Unplugged Performance has worked its tuning magic is in making the car lighter and handle better. The interior has been almost completely stripped out (including the airbags, centre console and door panels!) and a roll cage and racing seat with 6 point racing seatbelts has been added to make it safe enough for the difficult and uncompromising nature of Pikes Peak. The factory air springs have been retained, although they've been beefed up by custom made dampers made in collaboration with Bilstein and a 3-way adjustable anti-roll bar. The car also has custom forged aluminium wheels with Yokohama Advan slick tyres wrapped around them and beefed up brake rotors made in conjunction with PFC.
That's not even the end of the modifications Unplugged Performance are intending to make to the Model S Plaid. Before Pikes Peak, the company's intending to fit the front end with a set of fully-adjustable upper control arms, adjustable rear camber arms and high-performance brake pads to replace the stock Tesla ones. If you think that this sounds like it's going to be a monster in the corners, you're probably right...
What are the differences between the Model 3 Unplugged Performance took to Pikes Peak last year and this new Model S Plaid-derived beast? The answer, according to the company's founder Ben Schaffer, is exactly what you'd expect. "Power is the big one. This is more than four times the power we ended up racing last year. Unintentionally so". Schaffer also stated that the Model S's "battery pack and the cooling systems are much better" than the Model 3's. The Model S has a much lower level of power degradation as the battery's charge goes down than the Model 3 does, something that Randy Pobst found out when he drove the car for the first time at Laguna Seca. Even though he came into the pits with 34% of the battery's charge left, he felt that the car was just as fast as it was at 100% charge. As Schaffer is keen to point out, "that's a big difference."
Will Unplugged Performance's race-prepared Model S Plaid do well at Pikes Peak? Well, the Model 3 that was entered last year came second in its class despite it having a massive crash during practice for the event and being down on half of its horsepower. If the Model 3 could do that well, it's highly likely that the Model S will do brilliantly too if no major incidents happen!