Tesla Could Attempt a Nurburgring Lap Time on September 21st

From tweet to reality.

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This story was originally published on 9/11/19 and has been updated with new information regarding the car that Tesla has at the Nurburgring, as well as a video of a Model S testing a car at the track.

After Porsche announced that it set a 7:42 Nurburgring time with its new Taycan Turbo S, Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla would have a Model S on the Nurburgring "next week," presumably to set a time. Then we called the Nurburgring. Track reps told us that Tesla did not have upcoming track time and that they were booked for the season. It seemed like it'd be impossible for the automaker to get the track time it needed to set a time.

Funny how much can change in a week.

After our original story was published, a Model S was spotted at a shop outside the Nurburgring with a clear wicker attached to its trunk lid and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Rs, some of the stickiest and most aggressive tires you can buy today.

Then we heard that Tesla would be participating in the Ring's Industry Pool. Timing is strictly prohibited in these sessions, but it would be useless anyway. There's so much traffic that a fast lap is impossible. To set a time, you need to rent the track privately. We're now hearing that Tesla has done just that.

A source on the ground has informed R&T that a time could be set next week. Our source told us that the Nurburgring issued a schedule change for September 21st, with a 30 minute private window carved out of a session that already had public laps and Ring taxi laps on the calendar. There is also the possibility of lap timing in a session on the 18th, though it doesn't sound like that session would be private.

Carving out that time, from a session that was previously booked and was guaranteed to make the track money, is an expensive proposition.

Musk has pretty much said that the company will not set a time this week:

We've also heard that a Model S, likely the one with the wicker and the Cup 2 Rs, was on the track already and was absolutely flying, pulling away from other cars, but broke halfway through a lap.

These updates have all transpired in the last 24 hours, which makes us think there's a chance that Elon tweeted about the Model S being on the 'Ring, then his team had to figure out how to make it happen.

Formula One champ Nico Rosberg has volunteered to drive, but also isn't accredited for the timed sessions.

That doesn't mean it'd be impossible for him to run laps at some point, but he's also Germany's most recent F1 champ. There might be a chance that Ring officials will turn a blind eye and let him run.

Update 9/12/19:

Tesla says that it set a lap record at Laguna Seca with a high-performance Model S that is in an advanced stage of R&D.

Dubbed "Plaid," the new car has a triple motor powertrain that Musk says will be coming to market in the next year:

Around the same time as the record announcement, a highly modified Model S was spotted near the Nurburgring with huge fender flares, an opened up lower grille opening, and new wheels:

Running the plates on this prototype show that they're from a 2017 model that was bought back by Tesla, possibly as a lemon. It also has badges that say P100D+, though Tesla has stopped using battery capacity in its names.

Being a buyback doesn't really matter since Tesla likely gutted this car in order to change it over to Plaid spec. It'll also never be sold to the public.

Here's the grey-colored Model S—the one with the clear wicker on its wing and Pilot Sport Cup 2s—doing a couple of quick laps on the Nurburgring during today's industry pool hours. As we said before, timing is not allowed during these sessions, so these were probably just testing laps.

We'll keep an eye out for any more 'Ring runs from Tesla over the next days and weeks.

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