With a gifted ace at the wheel, the right conditions, and the latest version of the Model S Plaid, Tesla was able to put together a staggering lap and now hold the title of fastest EV around Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Laguna Seca is a track known to reward horsepower—and this understated sedan has plenty. Its three motors make an astounding 1,100 horsepower, and because of the way its four-wheel drive system meters out that grunt so cleanly, this ~4,800-pound sled reaches outrageous speeds. In fact, it matches a current Porsche Cup car along Laguna’s long front straight.
It’s also quite lively under power and throughout the turn-in phase. Still, possibly due to the serene setting inside the cabin, it almost seems easy to control—though the man behind the wheel may have something to do with that.
The man in the racing seat is Johannes Van Overbeek, a Californian racer with a podium at Le Mans, multiple ALMS wins, and winner of the Porsche Cup back in 2005. Recently, Van Overbeek transitioned from professional racing to working in Northern California’s EV scene, which explains why Mr. Musk decided to put him in the Plaid’s racing seat.
Speaking of, the only modifications this particular car received prior to its fast lap were a racing seat—necessary for the driver’s safety and support—and a set of special tires. Sebastien Vittel, the man whose YouTube channel this video is featured on, described these one-off Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires as performing a lot like Michelin’s sensational Cup 2 Rs.
Though this lap is a bit faster than what Randy Pobst managed in a McLaren P1 five years ago, Musk believes the Model S Plaid can be refined to run approximately three seconds faster around the world-renowned circuit. That would put it in contention with the McLaren Senna, currently the fastest production car around Laguna with a lap of 1:27.62.
It seems that Tesla is gunning for more than merely the electric car record—they want the fastest production car record as well. Somehow, I don’t think they’ll miss the mark.