Does Tesla’s Lap Time at the Ring Actually Matter?

While you weren’t looking, Tesla’s Model S quietly stole a world record from Porsche’s new EV, the Taycan. Sadly, it’s not really that big of a deal.

It all happened at the famed Nürburgring-Nordschleife, a 13-mile race track that was once used to host the German Grand Prix, as part of the Formula 1 racing circuit. The track has a reputation for being particularly deadly, thanks to its sharp twists and turns. Another name for it is “the Ring” or just Ring.

More recently, the Ring has been used by auto manufacturers to suss out vehicle lap times. It’s a fun, yet enlightening way to measure just how fast a performance vehicle is in comparison to its rivals. Some would argue that this is why the track is so iconic, with a variety of automobiles having been tested there. The current record holder is the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, which has a lap time of 6:44:97. Of course, that’s just the record for the fastest vehicle, there are other categories.

After a rather silly series of events, the track is at the center of a new controversy — or whimsical tale depending on what you prefer — kickstarted by Elon Musk and his Tesla brand.

What’s Going On?

The Porsche Taycan — an incredibly capable electric vehicle — sped through the Ring, achieving a lap time of 7:42. It also set a record for the fastest production EV to lap the track.

Unsurprisingly, Musk stepped up and promised his company would soon stage an official run, which is something its electric vehicles have yet to achieve. Being the man of class that he is, Musk chose a seven-person Tesla Model S to blast around the track. Why he chose a more accommodating and likely heavier vehicle, we’ll never know. Many people scoffed at the idea of such a ridiculous vehicle racing the track, but the madman did it.

The end result is that the Model S finished the Nürburgring in 7:23, a full 20 seconds faster than the Porsche Taycan. Essentially, that means the Tesla Model S is now the fastest production EV to have raced around the track, so it holds the record.

While it’s certainly a neat achievement and shows that the Model S is pretty fast for its size, the record doesn’t really matter all that much.

Why Lap Times Around the Ring Don’t Matter

Performance vehicles are put through the wringer, pun intended, to get an accurate yet verifiable rating in terms of speed. That’s because they are often graded by levels of, well, performance including speed, power, handling and more.

The Porsche Taycan is no exception to this rule, regardless of its EV standing because the brand has always been synonymous with performance no matter which of its vehicles you’re talking about. That means that eagle-eyed Porsche enthusiasts are constantly paying attention to new stats, such as Nürburgring lap times. They explicitly care about the power and performance of their vehicles, it’s one of the staples of owning a Porsche.

Tesla owners, on the other hand, care a whole lot less. It’s not that its vehicles aren’t powerful or capable, they certainly are, but a majority of Tesla owners could care less how fast their vehicle’s lap times are. Most owners are more concerned with the efficiency of the vehicle, its impact on the greater environment, and the many great features offered — such as the autonomous driving support.

But there’s another reason why the record might not matter in the grand scheme of things. Porsche has an ace up their sleeve.

Porsche May Just Steal the Record Back

To achieve their previous record-setting lap times, Porsche used the Taycan Turbo, a step down from what they actually have available. It may indeed return to the track with a more capable model, the Taycan Turbo S which offers an increase in both power and torque.

Theoretically, the performance increase should allow the Turbo S to achieve much faster lap times, maybe even considerably faster than Tesla’s Model S. Why is this significant? Because it’s obvious that Porsche will probably return to the Ring soon to take on Tesla’s new record. If that’s the case, then Tesla will not have held it for long and Porsche will be right back on top.

It’s all a rather silly affair, that’s more of a back and forth between Musk’s ego and the amusement of a few Porsche executives. Then again, who knows? Maybe Tesla customers really do care about the lap times of their vehicles, it’s always exciting to know you’re riding in an incredibly powerful machine whether you’re in control of the steering wheel or not.


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