The Tesla Model S is going to the Nürburgring. That much we know, Tesla boss Elon Musk tweeting “Model S on Nurburgring next week” on September 6.
From here on the story gets strange. Why Tesla is going to the Nürburgring is unclear; the assumption is that it would make an attempt on the Porsche Taycan’s 7min42sec lap time, a reasonable assumption given that 2016 F1 champion Nico Rosberg replied to Musk’s tweet with “give me a call if you need a decent driver to do the lap” to which Musk then replied “Thanks for offering! Sure, that would be great.”
This is where it gets REALLY weird. Tesla confirmed to US outlet Road & Track that it will be taking part in an industry pool day, where prototypes from various manufacturers complete testing at the world’s most arduous racetrack…sorry, public toll road.
Here’s the thing, all these prototypes mean traffic is usually an issue during industry pool days so completing a clean lap is difficult, but that’s irrelevant as lap timing is strictly prohibited during these sessions.
In order to complete a full timed lap a manufacturer must book the track exclusively, which the Nürburgring confirmed to Road & Track Tesla had not done and was very unlikely to be able to do so as the track is “fully booked through the season.”
So Tesla is taking part in an industry pool session at the Nürburgring, but Nico Rosberg won’t be driving. Only accredited drivers are permitted to take part in these sessions and that accreditation isn’t easy to come by.
Holden’s chief dynamics engineer Rob Trubiani is one such driver, explaining to MOTOR that a three-day course is required with an instructor to learn the nuances of the track. Rosberg may have an F1 title and have held a Superlicence, but it seems unlikely that he has Nürburgring accreditation or will be able to gain it by next week.
Even the car doesn’t make sense. The Model S has many virtues, including blinding straight-line speed in P100D form, but performance longevity isn’t one of them. The track-developed Model 3 Performance would seem a far more appropriate vehicle to tackle the ’Ring.
In summary: Elon Musk has announced a Tesla Model S will be going to the Nürburgring, but it’s not clear why and it won’t be setting a lap time; Nico Rosberg has offered to drive it but he’s not allowed. We’ll keep you up-to-date with developments as they happen.