A prototype for a new Tesla Model S has lapped California’s Laguna Seca racetrack faster than any production four-door car, according to an in-car video of the feat released by the automaker revealing time of 1:36.555 around the 2.2-mile-long course.
That beat the mark set by the Jaguar XE SV Project 8 last year by almost exactly a second. The 592 hp V8-powered car completed the circuit in 1:37.54.
However, the Jaguar was offered in a limited production run of 300 cars for $187,500 each, while the Tesla is still being developed and won’t be on sale until next year, making its result unofficial for the time being.
Elon Musk tweeted that the car features a new three-motor “Plaid” powertrain – two in the rear, one in the front – that it will share with the Model X and upcoming Roadster two-door. The current Model S features one motor at each end.
The colorful name is a reference to the comedy film “Spaceballs,” where the villain’s starship goes from “ludicrous speed” to “plaid,” depicted as the fastest speed possible. The high-performance Tesla Model S P100D already offers a “Ludicrous Mode” that enables the quickest acceleration.
Musk said the Plaid Model S will cost more than the current version, which has a base price of $101,115, but less than its main competitor, the recently-revealed Porsche Taycan Turbo S that starts at $188,960. The battery-powered Porsche has claimed its own unofficial track at Germany’s 13-mile-long Nurburgring, where a prototype holds the fastest time for an electric sedan. For now.
Tesla is in the process of testing and tuning a Model S in Germany that Musk said may try to set a lap time next week. According to Road and Track, a private session has been scheduled at the facility for Sept. 21, which may be when Tesla is planning to make the attempt. Photos of the car reveal it sports a revised cooling system, flared fenders, enlarged spoiler and a set of the highest-performance street-legal tires currently available from Michelin.
According to Musk, it is also equipped with a pair of rear-facing jump seats under its lift-back, which is a Model S option that turns it into a 7-passenger car and would make a potential record even more specific.