When Tesla hit the Nurburgring with extensively modified versions of the Model S last month, we were left wondering what the hell it all meant. The test mules were unrecognisable from any version of the electric car currently sold, and although CEO Elon Musk confirmed its new triple motor ‘Plaid’ powertrain would make production, that didn’t explain all the other bits on the cars.
Surely, we thought, Tesla doesn’t intend on selling a Model S that’s almost Porsche 911 GT3 RS-like in its focus, with wider lightweight wheels, semi-slick tyres and carbon ceramic brakes? Well, the Californian company just might.
With the cars in question back at the Nurburgring this week - at least one of them now sporting a rear diffuser that looks like it’s nicked from a GT4 racing car - Elon Musk has said on Twitter that: “The final configuration used at Nurburgring to set the record will go into production around summer 2020, so this is not purely for the track”.
There are several outcomes this statement could point to. The “final configuration” could be brought back to a more sensible point, perhaps with the interior put back in and the tyres switched for something more road-friendly.
It’s possible that the Plaid Model S scheduled to arrive next summer will be available with some or even all of the upgrades, much like Seat what did with the Leon Cupra’s Sub 8 pack a few years back, and similar to Nissan’s sneaky ‘Ring shenanigans with the ‘N Attack’ pack.
Or finally, Tesla may actually sell a car as extreme as the one currently ploughing around the Nordschleife. Should that be the route taken, it’d likely be a low-volume, high-cost vehicle. We asked Tesla UK if it could clarify Musk’s comments, but the company’s British arm wouldn’t elaborate further.
It’s pleasing that the eyebrow-raising ‘Ring cars will eventually have some production relevance, but we’re still hoping to at some point see a more normal Plaid mode Model S have a go at the time set by the Porsche Taycan Turbo.
What do you think?