Elon Musk has fired his opening salvo in his quest to challenge the Porsche Taycan with footage of a mysterious Tesla Model S prototype lapping the famed Laguna Seca circuit in 1min 36.555sec.
The prototype in question is far from standard spec as Musk revealed it is running with a newly developed “Plaid” powertrain, a reference to a scene from the movie Spaceballs from which the Model S’s “Ludicrous” mode is inspired.
*~ Some personal news ~*— Tesla (@Tesla) September 12, 2019
We lapped Laguna Seca @WeatherTechRcwy in 1:36.555 during advanced R&D testing of our Model S Plaid powertrain and chassis prototype
(That’s a second faster than the record for a four-door sedan) pic.twitter.com/OriccK4KCZ
Little is known about the Plaid spec aside from Musk confirming in an earlier tweet that it will have three motors – rather than the Ludicrous’s two – and will be available on the S, X and the upcoming Roadster.
Other sources have also spied the prototype Model S in question being tested with widened fenders and a bootlid spoiler. Whether these “enhancements” will make their way to the production model as a new variant or option is yet to be confirmed.
Spec comparison: Taycan v Model S Performance
That being said, Laguna Seca officials formally do not recognise Tesla’s lap record attempt as it was not completed during a sanctioned event, where the sanctioning body is officiating.
This isn’t the first time Musk’s ambition has been put on a crash course with the unbending will of bureaucracy, as we have detailed recently on the hurdles car makers have to go through before being allowed to set lap times at the Nürburgring.
Even so the Model S’s lap time at Laguna Seca is noteworthy, being a second faster than the four-door sedan lap record holder, the Jaguar XE SV Project SV, which was driven by Randy Pobst.
Not only that, the special prototype Model S is also quicker than a Ferrari F12berlinetta and a Porsche Cayman GT4, also done with Pobst at the wheel.