September 12, 2019 - 13:45 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Tesla teased a prototype Model S that Elon Musk says can go faster than the “Ludicrous” speed the company’s cars currently achieve. The new powertrain is dubbed “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 made its debut at Laguna Seca raceway, where it lapped the famous California road course in just 1 minute and 36 seconds.
The new Plaid powertrain, which employs 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 offerings, but less than competitors,” he added, a possible reference to the newly-unveiled Porsche Taycan Turbo, which starts at $150,000. (Though the new Roadster starts at $200,000.)
As Tesla pointed out on Twitter, 96 seconds is about one second faster than the “record for a four-door sedan” at Laguna Seca. But this is where things get tricky. A spokesperson for Laguna Seca told CNBC that track officials “were not officiating while the Tesla was testing,” and that “[o]fficial records only happen during sanctioned events where a sanctioning body is officiating.”
To be sure, the Model S lap is nowhere near the fastest Laguna Seca lap. That was officially set by Helio Castroneves in 2000 in a Champ Car, the racecars that briefly existed after Indy Racing League split off from IndyCar (don’t ask). Back then, Castroneves put down a lap time of 1 minute 7 seconds. (The unofficial record, 1 minute 5 seconds, was set in 2012 in a Ferrari F1 car.)