'Plaid' level Model S revealed with lap record

You can expect a rash of this sort of thing now. Porsche's record-setting Taycan lap at the Nurburgring was partly intended to put Tesla's nose out of joint; the latter's newly revealed lap record at Laguna Seca, barely two days after its rival's public debut, is meant as a lively riposte. Not just in minutes and seconds either - the achievement also announced the incoming 'Plaid' designation.

Passing mention of the range-topping specification has been made before. Elon Musk himself alluded to it when 'Ludicrous' mode became a thing (and as any Space Balls fan will tell you, 'gone to plaid' definitely represents a superior level of performance). What precisely it means for the Model S - and other Tesla models, apparently - remains to be seen. Tesla says the enhancements aren't due for production till next year.

Plainly though, they include modifications to both the powertrain and chassis. The former is Tesla's go-to solution, although given the Model S already develops 762hp in Ludicrous guise, where it goes from there is anyone's guess. Of course the Taycan's primary achievement is delivering its own 761hp consistently enough to get from bridge to gantry in 7mins 42 secs without waving a white flag.

Going full pelt for 1min 36 secs is obviously less onerous, but we'd imagine any improvement in straight-line performance has been accompanied by commensurate gains in endurance. Moreover, any work done retuning the Model S's suspension is likely to go hand-in-hand with evermore sophisticated ways of deploying said power to the road surface (assuming that Tesla's experimentation with 'Track' modes did not stop at making a Model 3 drift). Either way, the relatively recent phenomena of manufacturers besting each other with lap times looks unlikely to recede as electric-only models take hold.


Tempted? Find a Model S here.

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (104) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Ex Boy Racer 12 Sep 2019

    Hmmm. Not a fan of EV's personally, but it looks like the introduction of some real competition for Tesla is going to create fast improvements. Finally a real, competitive marketplace!

  • AmosMoses 12 Sep 2019

    Musk has his sights set on a ring record, but Tesla doesn't have the chassis development Porsche do, will be interesting to see what happens.

  • J4CKO 12 Sep 2019

    Tesla are pretty busy defending their position/lead, they have a new update out that improves range and performance called the "Raven" update, not seen any mention of it on here,


    these kind of updates are the switch over to electrification in progress, incremental improvements in range and other areas that will make them viable for more and more people, 370 mile range is pretty impressive.

    Also, Tesla have bought a battery manufacturer called Maxwell technologies that gives them scope to double battery capacity, initially add 30 percent, and that isnt even a solid state battery.

    Not a fanboy here either, just mentioning what I have read, as I am interested even if I will stick to IC engines for the forseeable future, possibly permanently, but I cant just say "no range, too expensive etc" and write them off, can see it happening, more coming out every week and improvements starting to come through.

  • Terminator X 12 Sep 2019

    That "noise" reminds me of something scratchchin


  • MikeGoodwin 12 Sep 2019

    I'd probably consider ev if they were cheap enough but only for a st car, something to get to work in or to the shops but I'd have to have a toy to go with it. Lotus or caterfield for example just to offset the utter boredom of an ev. But I'm not someone with the money to afford a Tesla

    Interesting comment above about rivalry between Porsche and Tesla as well.

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