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Intrigue at the Nurburgring as Tesla unofficially beats Porsche's fastest lap

It'll never be official, but it's a great promotion for the upcoming Model S "Plaid."
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2019 Eifel region spring on 1927 built Nordschleife at low part near Adenau. Markus Volk via Getty Images

When Porsche beat the Nurburgring lap record for a four-door EV, it was sending a message to rival Tesla: "Hey, 2-second 0-60mph acceleration times are cool, but how long can your brakes, motor, tires and batteries last?" Tesla boss Elon Musk got the message loud and clear, and as it goes with him, he wasn't willing to let it go. Now, it appears that a Tesla Model S has bested the Taycan Turbo's 7 minute, 42 second time by 19 seconds (unofficially).

To ensure a good time, Tesla put a modified version of the Model S with "fender flares, wider wheels and tires, a rear spoiler, an expanded front grills, and seriously sticky tires," according to Engadget's sister site, Autoblog. That's what was visible on the outside, and Tesla has yet to say what, if any, modifications it did to the suspension, motor, battery and other internal parts.

If Tesla put a stock version of its most powerful Model S on the Nurburgring track, it likely wouldn't beat the Taycan Turbo's run. The EV's tires wouldn't be up to the task, for one thing, and and the motor, brakes and/or battery could possibly overheat. Porsche's Taycan Turbo, on the other hand, was reportedly a detuned version of the production Taycan Turbo S with stock summer tires.

With the modifications, the Model S managed a stellar time of 7 minutes and 23 seconds around Nurburgring, according to a very unofficial timing done by Autoblog's spy. Again, that beats the Taycan Turbo by 19 seconds, and when Tesla does an officially timed lap -- possibly later this week -- it may be able to do even better.

While this is not a production vehicle, Tesla announced that something similar may wind up in production as a "Plaid" variant of the Model S. The company first showed off this potential option at Laguna Seca, where it set a lap time record of 1 minute and 36.5 seconds.

Porsche hinted to Car and Driver that it could do better by fielding a Taycan Turbo S, which has 90 more horsepower than the Taycan Turbo in short bursts. As for Tesla, this is still a non-stock Model S, so it wouldn't likely knock Porsche's Taycan off its record perch no matter what time it hits at Nurburgring. Either way, it's a canny marketing push for the upcoming Plaid model.

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