Tesla’s Nürburgring Lap Record

One of my ‘bucket list’ ambitions is to race around the long track at the famous Nürburgring Race Circuit in Nürburg, Germany. It’s not just the track that appeals to me, it’s the whole history of the circuit that goes back to the first race in 1907.

Originally 28.265 km, the track has since been modified to incorporate 4 different configurations and over the years has been home to numerous high-profile events like Formula One Grand Prix’s and 24-hour Endurance events, whilst also hosting public sessions and corporate testing programs.

In the December 2021 Famous Last Words, I featured a Porsche testing session when they put the 718 Cayman GT4 RS through its paces at the Nürburgring:

Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Nürburgring testing December 2021

I was interested to recently read that Tesla had used the Nürburgring to test Tesla Model S Plaid’, a newly released track version car with amongst other things, carbon-ceramic brakes, and lightweight wheels.

Although I can see Porsches and other top end Electrical Vehicle manufacturers racing EV’s, for some reason I’d never really viewed Tesla as one of them, however I was surprised to see that Porsche and Tesla have been battling it out for the EV Nürburgring lap record for a while now.

Over recent years, both manufacturers have been running recorded single lap times, with Tesla’s first official attempt on September 9th, 2021, achieving a very quick 7 minutes, 35 second lap time. But Porsche wasn’t prepared to take that and so in April 2022 running a Taycan Turbo S, they set a lap time that was two seconds faster at 7 minutes, 33 seconds.

But as to be expected, the Americans weren’t finished, and so on June 4th, 2023, with Formula 3 and Touring Car driver Tom Schwister at the wheel of a Track Pack Model S Plaid, Tesla regained the title with a time of 7 minutes and 25 seconds, almost 9 seconds faster than the Taycan.

To achieve this result, Tesla’s track package included carbon-ceramic brake rotors front and rear accompanied by six-piston front, four-piston rear callipers with high performance brake fluid and a set of 20-inch Zero-G wheels with 285/35 front and 305/30 rear Goodyear Supercar 3R tyres. It can also be assumed that there is a heap of changes to the electronics, including revised torque vectoring and torque splits, which would have also been a big part of the set up.

What I found interesting when looking at the following video of Schwister’s lap, is how he lugs around a heavy car of nearly 2,120 kilograms, and also due to the lack of engine noise, how you clearly hear the tyres working to keep the car on the road, particularly when its hitting nearly 290 kmh or 180 mph down the long straight.

Tesla’s Nürburgring Lap Record

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