In September 2021, Tesla set a new record for production electric cars on the Nürburgring Nordschleife track in Germany.
At the time, an unmodified Tesla Model S vehicle set a lap time of 7 minutes and 35.58 seconds at an average speed of 102.287 mph (164.615 kph).
Almost a year later, the record was beaten by the Porsche Taycan Turbo S, which shaved more than two seconds off the Model S Plaid's time, setting a lap time of 7 minutes and 33.35 seconds on the same 12.9-mile (20.8-kilometer) loop of the Green Hell.
Now, the Model S Plaid has been spotted at the Nürburgring once again, only this time it has nothing to do with Tesla. This is the first privately owned Model S Plaid that has lapped the fearsome German rack.
The electric performance sedan was driven by racing driver Sebastian Vittel, who was previously involved with Tesla's attempts to set a lap record on the Nordschleife. It wasn't him who posted the actual winning lap in 2021, though; that accolade went to Johannes Van Overbeek.
Before you get your hopes up too high, there's no typo in the above paragraph as we're not talking about former F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel. Sebastian Vittel is a different race car driver with more than 6,000 laps of the Nürburgring Nordschleife under his belt, many of which were accumulated in endurance races.
He took his Tesla Model S Plaid to the Nordschleife during the first public session of 2023, in less than ideal conditions: 8° C (46° F) weather with rain in certain areas and a dirty track due to a race that had took place the day before.
More track videos with the Tesla Model S Plaid
As a result, he didn't attempt to set any record, doing a "very gentle lap just for testing it." As you can see in the video above, "gentle lap" has a slightly different meaning for a racing driver than for the average Tesla owner. The ease at which the Model S Plaid leaves Nürburgring traffic behind is just surreal.
Vittel was thrilled with the Model S Plaid's performance, describing the car as well balanced and safe, which are obviously very important attributes on the Nordschleife.
He also noted that it did not overheat during the laps – unlike what he experienced with the Model 3 – although after the third lap the car entered limp mode. Even so, the Model S Plaid has around 500 horsepower to play with, enough to overtake 90 percent of the cars on the track as Vittel said.
As for the brakes, he had no problems during the 10 laps he covered, though only the brake calipers were original Tesla equipment. The car had upgraded brake pads (Carbotec XP 10), 408-mm Giro front and rear discs, and RBF 650 brake fluid.
Before leaving you with the lap, you should know the car was driven in Track mode with traction control off, 50-50 front-rear traction repartition, brake regen at 60 percent, and 95 percent state of charge. The tires are Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S on stock wheels.