UPDATE 9/7/19: You didn't really think this drama was over, did you? Is it ever when a person of Elon Musk's prominence posts rash tweet or two? Yesterday, Road & Track reported that officials at the Nürburgring said that the Nordschliefe was "fully booked for through the season. I think that there is no availability for Test to set up a record attempt in the next days." You see, doing a timed lap on the 'ring isn't really a run-what-you-brung track day. Perhaps, when Musk tweeted out that there would be a Tesla Model S at the Nürburgring next week, he just meant it was there to take selfies in front of the local castle and maybe grab a delicious steak.
In other, possibly related news: Musk acknowledged by way of another tweet that "...Taycan does seem like a good car. Nürburgring track time is great." There, settled.
Elon Musk whipped up a tweetstorm last night mocking Porsche's naming convention for its new all-electric Taycan Turbo and implying he'll challenge the German newcomer on its own turf with the Tesla Model S.
Our limited experience lapping a Model S P 85D at our 2016 Lightning Lap event at Virginia International Raceway is not promising. It went into a reduced-power mode after only 40 seconds.
Never one to allow the publicity spotlight to shine too long on others, Elon Musk took to Twitter last night to announce that Tesla will have a Model S at the Nürburgring Nordschleife next week.
Model S on Nürburgring next week
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 5, 2019
Although Musk did not specifically say so, this is an apparent response to Porsche's recent announcement of a pre-production Taycan Turbo S's impressive 7:42 lap time around Germany's fast and gnarly 12.9-mile racetrack. Porsche has a long history at the 'Ring developing cars and posting fast laps at the one-time Formula 1 track, including recently posting the outright lap record in a modified version of the 919 prototype race car.
Tesla has no history at the track, or at least none that has been made public. Lapping any road course has not been part of Tesla's publicity playbook. The one time we subjected a Model S to hot laps at a racetrack, the laps proved to be too hot. We managed one lap in our long-term 463-hp 2015 Model S P85 D at the 2016 edition of our annual Lightning Lap event. The fully charged Model S made it 40 seconds into its lap before it went into a reduced-power mode that provides roughly half of the vehicle's maximum power. Just as with Tesla's acceleration times, the first 40 seconds of that lap were impressive. It matched the pace of a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. But a final lap time of 3:17.4 meant it was nearly 14 seconds behind the Dodge by the finish line, an eternity on the 4.2-mile Virginia International Raceway Grand Course. The Model S's brakes were also a weak point on the track, going very soft very quickly.
Musk's tweet offered no additional information about what spec the Nürburgring Model S would be—or anything else, for that matter. But presumably the biggest challenge for Tesla is its ability to handle the heat generated by full-tilt driving. Excess heat in the battery pack is almost certainly what sent our Lightning Lap Model S into low-power mode. Porsche designed the Taycan with an 800-volt operating system which, in addition to saving weight and reducing charging time, allows for a lower current draw during high-power driving, reducing heat. Typically, electrics operate on a 400-volt system.
In fact, Musk never actually claimed the car would go for a Porsche-challenging lap time. We've reached out to Tesla for additional information on the effort and have not received a response as of this writing.
Ever the provocateur, Musk also tweeted out: "Um, @Porsche, this word Turbo does not mean what you think it does." He is, of course, not wrong that the full-electric Taycan Turbo and Turbo S have no turbochargers. For its part, Porsche has had no official response; perhaps the German automaker is content to let the Musk-generated brouhaha get settled at the track.
Um @Porsche, this word Turbo does not mean what you think it does
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 5, 2019
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