A new YouTube video suggests the Tesla Model S Plaid could finally have its speed limiter removed for owners who have purchased the upgraded Carbon Ceramic Braking Kit (CCBK), unleashing a potential top speed of at least 217 miles per hour.
The video comes from Sebastian Vittel (not to be confused with recently retired Formula 1 racing legend Sebastian Vettel), who appears to be an amateur racing driver from Europe who frequents tracks in France and Germany, including the famous Nurburgring, with an impressive garage of options. One of those is a 2023 Tesla Model S Plaid.
When the Model S Plaid was first announced, Tesla boasted its super sedan would be able to reach a top speed of 200 mph. A number of things about the car were changed between that announcement and the time it went on sale, one of which was a more pedestrian top speed of just 163 mph (322 km/h).
Since then, Tesla has issued an over-the-air update that included a "Track Mode" for the Model S Plaid, which raised its top speed to 175 mph (282 km/h). The prevailing theory has always been the Model S Plaid's brakes are what's been holding it back; Tesla hasn't wanted to unleash the car's full potential without a braking system that could handle hauling down such a heavy car.
Gallery: 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid Refresh
Enter the Carbon Ceramic Brake Kit. Announced in 2022, the CCBK costs an eye-watering $20,000 and can only be used on the Model S Plaid with optional 21-inch Arachnid wheels. The kit includes larger front and rear carbon ceramic discs, a set of high temperature brake pads, braided brake lines, and high temperature brake fluid (installation is also included). Despite this kit being available for some time now, Tesla has not yet decided to remove the speed limiter on Model S Plaids equipped with it.
Back to this new YouTube video. Somehow Vittel made a connection with Tesla Belgium, which gave him access to what he claims is the first Tesla Model S Plaid with the company's CCBK that has had its top speed "unrestricted." The performance increase he reports in his video's description is incredible.
Vittel tested the car on Circuit de Bresse in Belgium and claims he set a new track record for a street legal car on factory tires. He also claims the car hit an incredible 217 mph (350 km/h) on the track. Now, tinkerers have hacked the Model S to remove its speed limiter and reach speeds in excess of 200 mph before, but we've never heard of one going as fast as Vittel went.
The video suggests an update might be coming that removes the speed limiter for Model S Plaid owners who have bought and installed the CCBK. It also suggests the car's new official top speed will be at least 217 mph, though it could be even higher since Vittel's experience was unofficial (though it had the air of being official-ish with Vittel claiming Tesla itself let him drive the car). Lastly, it proves once and for all that the Model S Plaid should have had better braking hardware from the very beginning, or at least that the electric car's powertrain far outstripped the capability of its brakes.