Tesla announced Wednesday that its Model S "Plaid" development car lapped WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca near Monterey, California, in 1 minute, 36.55 seconds this week.
That set a track record for four-door sedans—a claim from Tesla—and it proved that its flagship model can complete a hot lap at the famous circuit.
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We lapped Laguna Seca @WeatherTechRcwy in 1:36.555 during advanced R&D testing of our Model S Plaid powertrain and chassis prototype
(That’s a second faster than the record for a four-door sedan) pic.twitter.com/OriccK4KCZ— Tesla (@Tesla) September 12, 2019
This is more than simply a performance milestone for Tesla, which received a healthy dose of criticism regarding the ability of its high-performance Model S sedan to deliver sustained performance on a race track in the fallout surrounding Porsche's high-profile effort to set the fastest lap time for a four-door electric sedan at Germany's Nürburgring.
It also confirms that development of a high-performance Model S is well underway. Dubbed "Plaid," in yet another reference to "Spaceballs," which which also inspired Tesla's "Ludicrous Mode" acceleration program, the new model seems poised to defend the nameplate's status as a world-class super sedan.
Musk confirmed Wednesday in a tweet that the new "Plaid" powertrain will be a three-motor system.
Yes. To be clear, Plaid powertrain is about a year away from production & applies to S,X & Roadster, but not 3 or Y. Will cost more than our current offerings, but less than competitors.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 12, 2019
It will be an option for the Model S, Model X and Roadster, but not the smaller Model 3 or Y, and Musk promised that each will be less expensive than its respective competitors (we would assume he means the Porsche Taycan) with production starting in mid-to-late 2020.