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Tesla is testing Model S with an even faster "Plaid" powertrain at Laguna Seca
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Tesla teased a prototype Model S that according to Elon Musk can go faster than the "Ludicrous" speed that the company's cars are currently achieving. The new powertrain is called "Plaid" and is "about a year away from production, "Musk tweeted Wednesday. (Both names are a reference to the Mel Brooks movie Spaceballs.) The Plaid Model S debuted on the Laguna Seca race track, where he completed the famous California track in just 1 minute and 36 seconds.

The new Plaid powertrain, with three electric motors instead of two, will be available in the Model S, Model X and the second-generation Roadster. It won't be available for the Model 3 or the Model Y, Musk said. It will "cost more than our current offering, but less than competitors," he added, a possible reference to the newly unveiled Porsche Taycan Turbo, which starts at $ 150,000. (Although the new Roadster starts at $ 200,000.)

As Tesla indicated twitter96 seconds is about a second faster than the "record for a four-door sedan" in Laguna Seca. But this is where things get tricky. A spokesperson for Laguna Seca told CNBC that job officers & # 39; did not officiate while the Tesla was testing &; & that & # 39; (o) official records only take place during sanctioned events where a sanction authority operates & # 39 ;.

That is a fairly standard approach when it comes to track records, although the Musk did not stop it claim on Twitter that Tesla had set the new "record for the fastest 4-door ever at Laguna Seca." The Silicon Valley automaker also placed one video of the run to YouTube titled "Tesla Model S fastest lap at Laguna Seca." The semantic confusion of this formulation is eliminated in the video description: "We wrapped Laguna Seca in 1: 36,555 during advanced R&D testing of our Model S Plaid powertrain and chassis prototype – a second faster than the record for a four-door sedan."

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Certainly, the Model S lap is nowhere near the fastest Laguna Seca lap. That was officially established by Helio Castroneves in 2000 in a Champ Car, the short-lived spur of / then competitor of IndyCar (don't ask). At the time, Castroneves set a lap time of 1 minute 7 seconds. (The unofficial record, 1 minute and 5 seconds, was set in 2012 in a Ferrari F1 car.)

Tesla is also running a Model S this week around another famous racing circuit: the Nürburgring in Germany. Musk announced last week that the company would take a Model S there in an apparent reaction to the news that Porsche's Taycan Turbo set the lap record & # 39; four-door electric sports car & # 39; had set, which is also a demonstrably invented record.

But Tesla is not yet trying to break records at the Nürburgring. Musk later tweeted that the company intends to assess and align the Model S on safety before you go there completely. (That may be a good thing because it seems that Tesla is a lemon law repurchase Model S.) Tesla will not have the job for itself either, because it will make the run during a session true several automakers may test.

The Model S Nürburgring rides from Tesla are closest to actual competition between the two cars until more Taycans reach the real world. It is a match that many performance car fans have expected during the four years that Porsche used its flagship EV. On paper, the Taycan is not as fast as Tesla & # 39; s best Model S – and also starts at $ 150,900, which some people think is ridiculous in itself.

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