Tesla Plaid Nürburgring Analysis

7:30 is a new lap record for a production EV. How does this compare to other cars, how can it get faster still and what about the yoke!

6w ago

7:30 is certainly an impressively fast time for a 4 door saloon, particularly one that had no modifications and isn't very track focussed. It should dispell the myth that an EV can't be fast on a long fast track. 7:30 is the same time as the very track focussed BMW M5 CS.

Here is the full video:


The closet track times are:

Tesla Model S Plaid 7:30.91

The only four door saloons that are subtantially faster are the Jaguar XE SV Project 8 (7:18:36) and Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 63 S (7:21:03).

In comparison the Porsche Taycan Turbo ran at 7:42. The Turbo S hasn't been timed yet, it might well get close to the Tesla, at least until some further updates to the Tesla (see below).

Obviously this is a long way off the ~6:40 for the very fastest producton cars, but that is really a battle for the likes of the Rimac Nevera.

Source: fastestlaps.com/tracks/nordschleife

Faster Still?

I expect to see the Tesla back at the ring with a few updates that should make it faster still and arguably make it more comparible with other fast saloons that are more track focussed.

How much faster this will make it is hard to guess, but I think it has a fair chance of getting close to 7:00, based on the updates below.

Higher Top Speed

Currently the car is limited to ~165mph and is due a software update lifting it to 200mph. That should cut a significant amount of the Nürburgring time. Here in the video you can see on a long straight the car bumping its restricted top speed for a signifcant time (speed is in kph). An extra 35mph at the top end of the fast Nürburgring should take off quite a few seconds.

Track Tyres

The run was done on bog standard road tyres, a swap to more track focussed tyres like used on the BMW M5 CS would shave some time.

Uprated Suspension and Brakes

As BMW has done with the M5 CS the Tesla could be fitted with stiffer, lower suspension and the brakes upgraded from rather basic solid steel to vented carbon ceramic brakes. For example Unplugged Performance did a similar upgrade to the Tesla Model 3 Performance and it dropped the 26 secs from 8:10 to 7:44.

Auguably this makes the car "modified", but I think its fair since its just making it the same as a factory option. Its a bit annoying Tesla doesn't have much of an option list or model variations.


Track Mode

Tesla has said they will be releasing a track mode option on the Model S, like they already have on the Model 3 Performance. This allows the driver to tune the car to the particular track, it should shave a little more time off the Nürburgring.

Aero Additions

Some aero additions like bigger spoilers should give more downforce and shave some time off., like Jag has done with the Project 8. Again it could be argued this is a after market mode or simply leveling up?

Unplugged Performance Modified Tesla Plaid

Defintely not a fair comparision to a production car as its fully race modified. but it would be interesting to see if it could get below 7:00 Nürburgring. It managed at 1:28 at Laguna Seca, ahead of the 911 GT2 RS and within a second of a Mclaren Senna hyercar.


What about the Yoke?

Its interesting to watch the race driver in the video using the yoke. I'm not a big fan of the yoke and was somewhat surprised to see for the vast majority of the time it was making no difference as the turns didn't require any "yoke arobics", on a few very tight turns it looked a little awkward, but not bad. Reflecting on this I remembered F1 uses yokes.

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Comments (7)

  • Why?! It's a family saloon, not even remotely close to a sports car. It can't even do two consecutive laps without going into "limp home" mode. It is, as James May would put it - a bit unnecessary! Sure, you can put 1000 hp in just about anything these days, but the reality is that you'd still be trundling along in the slow lane, trying to reach the next charging station. Those marketing gimmicks don't even make sense for the buyers anymore. How many Tesla owners would actually go to brave the Nordschleife? Less than 1% sounds about right, since it's not even on the same continent as Tesla's biggest markets.

      1 month ago
    • Agree it's a (very) fast family saloon, much as BMW, Merc etc do similar, it's not s sports car like say a 911. I've had both, very different. It's nice to be able to enjoy a fast saloon. The limp home mode was an issue with the previous Model S and...

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        1 month ago
    • Family cars doing Ring times is just a marketing stunt. It is nice to have a fast saloon for sure, but there's not much point to throw it out on a track. It's not made for those scenarios. You are correct, there is a vast difference in the way a fast...

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        1 month ago
  • My main issue with the yoke is that it has far more than 1 turn lock to lock. F1 cars have about 270 degrees of rotation in the wheel, whereas this (I assume) is nearer 1000.

      1 month ago
    • Yeah it looks quite awkward on videos of people using for tight manoeuvres. Not something an F1 does much of. Personally I’d being interested to try, my bigger concern is the indicators being on the wheel. I can’t see how I’d easily indicate...

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        1 month ago