Tesla takes on Porsche at Nurburgring, possibly with new ‘Plaid’ powertrain

first_img The Rolls-Royce Boat Tail may be the most expensive new car ever First there was derision. Then mockery turned into admiration. Now a battle is unfolding between two of the most revered names in the automobile world, Porsche and Tesla.The venue of the showdown: Germany’s Nurburgring, the race track considered the most challenging in the world.The circuit boasts 73 tight turns (Silverstone in the U.K. has 18), changing elevations and a brutal length of more than 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) winding through leafy forest, earning it the nickname “Green Hell.” It’s here that Porsche’s new Taycan Turbo S set the record as the fastest four-door electric car last month, clocking in at 7 minutes and 42 seconds. The feat wasn’t lost on a rival sitting thousands of miles away in California: Tesla’s Elon Musk. Always one to relish a good fight, Musk picked up the gauntlet and has dispatched a Model S to the German hinterland to reclaim the bragging rights as king of the electric sedan.The car confrontation has all the ingredients of an epic battle between incubent and upstart, infused with social-media feeds that have energized die-hard fans on either side of the Atlantic wondering which of the two cars can shave those vital extra seconds off their lap time. Adding to the frenzy is former Formula One racing champion Nico Rosberg, who chimed in on Twitter to pilot the Tesla, an offer that Musk happily accepted.Musk has a lot riding on the challenge. After Porsche unveiled the Taycan Turbo and Turbo S as its first electric cars last week, Musk teased the brand for its “turbo” nomenclature, because a turbocharger is only found in a combustion engine. Following the initial ribbing, he found more charitable words in a later tweet, acknowledging that the Taycan “does seem like a good car” and that the Nurburgring track time “is great.”The stakes are equally high for Porsche, which has watched Tesla turn itself into a veritable alternative for customers seeking a high-performance car but with an electric engine, an open flank that the Stuttgart-based manufacturer now hopes to protect with the Taycan.Musk posted on September 6 that a Model S would make an appearance at the track “next week.” Indeed, a modified Model S has been spotted testing on the Nurburgring Nordschleife, according to Car and Driver, which appeared to show the car on the track as part of a general driving session open to others. The model sported flared fenders and an enlarged opening at the front, probably for extra cooling.RELATED First Look: 2020 Porsche TaycanWhen exactly the car might attempt to break the Taycan’s record remains shrouded in mystery. Tesla did not respond to a request for comment on its plans for the Nurburgring.Bolstering Tesla’s case, the company tweeted on September 11 that a Model S with a new “Plaid” powertrain beat the record for the fastest four-door sedan at Laguna Seca, a race track near Monterey, California, even though the time hadn’t been achieved during a competitive event and wasn’t officiated by staff at the track.Pushing the round below 10 minutes is the ambition of all Nurburgring daredevils. The track is open to both professional and amateur drivers, and the fastest time with a street-legal sports car was 6 minutes and 44 seconds, performed in a Porsche GT2 RS MR on October 25 last year, according to the circuit’s web site. Trending Videos advertisement RELATED TAGSTeslaSedanNon-LuxuryElectric CarsElectric VehiclesNew VehiclesNon-Luxury Motor Mouth: Will Porsche’s Taycan challenge Tesla’s EV hegemony? Created with Raphaël 2.1.2Created with Raphaël 2.1.2 The Tesla Model 3 Performance  Handout / Tesla COMMENTSSHARE YOUR THOUGHTS That’s an average speed of 185 kilometers an hour for the 20.8-kilometer stretch. See More Videos We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles using Facebook commenting Visit our FAQ page for more information. Trending in Canada PlayThe Rolls-Royce Boat Tail may be the most expensive new car everPlay3 common new car problems (and how to prevent them) | Maintenance Advice | Driving.caPlayFinal 5 Minivan Contenders | Driving.caPlay2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge | Ministry of Interior Affairs | Driving.caPlayThe 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning is a new take on Canada’s fave truck | Driving.caPlayBuying a used Toyota Tundra? Check these 5 things first | Used Truck Advice | Driving.caPlayCanada’s most efficient trucks in 2021 | Driving.caPlay3 ways to make night driving safer and more comfortable | Advice | Driving.caPlayDriving into the Future: Sustainability and Innovation in tomorrow’s cars | Driving.ca virtual panelPlayThese spy shots get us an early glimpse of some future models | Driving.ca Buy It! Princess Diana’s humble little 1981 Ford Escort is up for auction An engagement gift from Prince Charles, the car is being sold by a Princess Di “superfan” ‹ Previous Next ›last_img read more