Tesla Model S Plaid Track Package breaks EV Nürburgring record
A Track Package-equipped Tesla Model S Plaid has reclaimed the production EV record at the Nürburgring
Three years since Tesla broke the production EV Nürburgring record in a standard Model S Plaid, the US marque has done it once more. Knocking the Porsche Taycan Turbo S from the top spot, Tesla achieved an impressive 7:25.231 lap time around the 20.8km circuit in a Model S Plaid Track Package. UK availability for the $20,000 (c£15,000) upgrade kit is yet to be announced, but the ordinary Model S Plaid is available to pre-order as a left-hand drive model from £125,000.
Cutting 8 seconds from the Porsche's run, the Track Package propels the Model S Plaid to the top of the EV table, lapping 10 seconds quicker than the standard car. As with all production car records, the fitment of safety equipment is allowed (harnesses, a racing bucket seat and a roll cage are clear to see in the onboard video), but manufacturers occasionally push these limits with additional tweaks. If the Plaid's heavily tinted windows and extreme negative camber are anything to go by, Tesla might have done the same here. Nevertheless, rumour has it that this record might not stand for long...
Available in the US from this summer, the Track Package upgrade swaps the Plaid's 21-inch wheels for 20-inch forged aluminium items, now wrapped in sticky Goodyear Supercar 3R tyres (285-section front, 305-section rear). Most significant is what lies behind those wheels, with 410mm carbon ceramic discs (front and rear), uprated fluid and new six-piston front, four-piston rear calipers designed to improve braking performance to match the car's output and weight. The new braking system can also be optioned separately from the Track Package, which also lifts top speed from 175mph to 200mph.
In 2022, Tesla also released Track Mode via an over-the-air update, giving the battery’s heat pump thermal management system a boost for more effective cooling, allowing the powertrain to provide maximum thrust for longer. There’s also a post-drive cooling system that helps reduce cooldown times between sessions. Battery preconditioning will also begin the moment Track Mode is selected to ensure you receive all 1006bhp as soon as possible, with brake temperatures also said to be improved through an increase in regenerative braking.
Track mode also unlocks more aggressive torque vectoring between the Plaid’s three motors, improved throttle response, a new setup for the adaptive dampers, performance displays on the dash and the ability to create custom presets for traction control, power distribution and suspension.
Peak power for the Plaid is rated at 1006bhp, delivered by a trio of new carbon-sleeved motors. Though they produce less in this application, Tesla engineers say each motor is capable of delivering around 400bhp given more advanced battery technology. It’s claimed 0-60mph sprint is currently pegged at 1.99sec (with a 1ft rollout), completing the quarter-mile in 9.23sec at 155mph and reaching a top speed of 200mph with the Track Package. While it’s hardly lightweight at 2162kg, this figure does make it around 200kg lighter than Porsche’s Taycan Turbo S.
Despite the intense performance, Tesla claims that the Plaid can cover around 390 miles on a single charge. Charging speeds have also been improved, with the Plaid able to utilise all 250kW of the firm’s new V3 Supercharger stations – a 25kW improvement over the latest Model S and X models.
The Plaid features torque vectoring which might go some way to counter its hefty kerb weight, with adaptive air suspension also standard. Also new is an upgraded heat pump for better cold weather performance and a radiator twice the size of its predecessor. The latter is said to allow for back-to-back launches and spirited driving without performance degradation – something Porsche ensured was covered in its electric flagship.
Also part of the Model S's 2021 facelift was a brand new interior, swapping its predecessor’s portrait display for a 17-inch landscape unit. Unlike in the Model 3, the driver is also treated to a 12.3-inch display behind the steering wheel, with an 8-inch unit making an appearance in the back for rear seat entertainment. Both the new yoke-style steering wheel and lack of improved seat bolstering are questionable, but the Plaid does appear to feature seat perforations for improved grip. The wood trim of the Long Range is also swapped for carbonfibre.
The Plaid's exterior is near-identical to the Long Range, with only minor tweaks made to the front and rear bumpers for improved cooling. 19-inch aero-centric wheels come as standard, however 21-inch 'Arachnid' items can be fitted at a £4400 premium. The drag coefficient has been improved over the outgoing model, with an impressive 0.208 figure outdoing even Porsche’s slippery Taycan.
Stacked up against its arch-rival, the Porsche Taycan, it seems a good value offering on paper. The range-topping Taycan Turbo S comes at a £23,000 premium over the Model S Plaid, but is quite some way down on claimed straight-line performance and range. The Tesla is said to reach 60mph six tenths sooner than the Porsche and boasts a top speed 38mph higher. Range is also on the Plaid’s side, with Tesla claiming it will travel around 100 miles further on a single charge.
The Tesla Model S Plaid starts from £125,000 in the UK, with pre-orders open now.
Tesla Model S Plaid Track Package specs
Triple motor, all-wheel drive
0-60mph (with 1ft rollout)