Tesla caused a big stir in 2019 by sending Model S Plaid prototypes at the Nürburgring, with one of them allegedly managing to set a lap time of 7 minutes and 13 seconds.

Now that the production Model S Plaid is already out in the open, Tesla is back at the Nürburgring with a red Model S Plaid prototype that looks very similar to the road-going car. According to our spy photographers, the prototype runs on sticky Michelin Super Sport tires that should help it in the quest to achieve faster laps than in 2019.

The tinted windows prevent us from peeking inside, but a roll cage seems to be fitted to this prototype, which is nothing unusual for cars testing on the Green Hell. Helping the Plaid navigate the Nordschleife’s 154 corners in safety is a set of big cross-drilled rotors and massive calipers.

Gallery: Tesla Model S Plaid Prototype Spied At The Nürburgring

So what’s this Model S Plaid doing at the Ring, you ask? Obviously, it’s there to set a lap time, preferably one that is as close to 7 seconds as possible. You may recall that in February 2021, Elon Musk said during a Joe Rogan Experience podcast that Tesla planned to return to Nürburgring to achieve a low-seven-minute or even sub-seven-minute lap time.

Should that happen, the Model S Plaid could make the Porsche Taycan Turbo’s 7-minute 42-second lap time obsolete, becoming the Ring’s new production four-door EV king in the process. Time will tell if it will achieve that, especially since Porsche has suggested the Taycan could go even faster around the Nordschleife.

Still, it’s worth noting that this new Model S Plaid lacks the aero parts that helped the earlier prototype set an unofficial lap time of 7 minutes and 13 seconds in November 2019. Most notably, the newer car has a much smaller decklid spoiler, a production-spec rear diffuser instead of the 2019 prototype’s larger one with massive fins, and no vents in the front fenders.

Whether or not the Model S Plaid gets close to the lap time Elon Musk desires, the fight for the fastest production four-door EV on the Ring is clearly heating up, with the AMG EQS and other performance models (Lucid Air?) likely waiting to have a go as well.

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