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The growing rivalry between Porsche and Tesla has taken another twist.

Car and Driver is reporting that Porsche might be sitting on a faster Nurburgring lap time because their record 7:42 lap was done by a Taycan Turbo, not the Turbo S.

If this is true, Car and Driver has two theories, either Porsche baited Tesla to send their Plaid Model S prototype just so they can beat it with the Turbo S, or the Turbo S isn't much quicker than the Turbo. I'm going to lean towards theory #1

[QUOTE
Did Porsche leave time on the table when it claimed the Nürburgring lap record for a production electric vehicle? Stefan Weckbach, vice president of the Taycan product line, revealed to Car and Driver that the 7:42 record was set with a Taycan Turbo instead of the company’s more powerful Taycan Turbo S.

When asked whether Porsche had also run the Turbo S and what kind of lap time the Turbo S is capable of, Weckbach clammed up. Why wouldn’t Porsche publish a Nürburgring lap time for the Taycan Turbo S? We have two theories.

It’s possible that Porsche is waiting to see what the Tesla Model S does at the fabled German race track. Earlier this week, our photographers captured a nonproduction Model S running laps at the ‘Ring. Early rumors suggest that the Tesla is now lapping the track roughly 20 seconds quicker than the Taycan. We suspect the car is a prototype of a more powerful, three-motor Tesla Model S with what Elon Musk calls a Plaid mode. (That name is a geeky reference to a 1987 Star Wars spoof that’s probably funny if you watch it while high.) If Porsche predicted that Elon Musk would dispatch a Model S to beat the Taycan’s time, it may have publicized the 7:42 time as a decoy. In that case, a faster Turbo S time would be an ace up Porsche’s sleeve to play if and when Tesla does beat the Taycan’s current record.

Our second theory posits that the Taycan Turbo S is no quicker than the Turbo around the track so demanding that it’s known as the Green Hell. While the Turbo S makes 750 horsepower to the Turbo’s 670 horsepower, that difference is only available for 2.5 seconds at a time. To manage heat in the powertrain, both versions of the Taycan reduce output to 616 horses after that interval. We don’t know how often the Turbo S powertrain controller would send the additional output to the Taycan’s motors during a lap of the ‘Ring. It’s also possible that the record-setting Turbo, which was fitted with all the optional performance-enhancing goodies that come standard on the Turbo S, weighs less than the more powerful Taycan.

Which theory is more likely? We like the idea that Porsche is engaged in a game of four-dimensional chess with Elon Musk. More convincing, we know that Porsche is deeply protective of the pecking order of the many model variants it builds. If the Porsche Taycan Turbo set the 7:42 Nürburging lap record for a production EV, a Turbo S can probably set an even faster record.][/QUOTE]
 

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I called this right away.

The car used for the test topped out at 161 mph. That's most likely a Turbo with a top speed limited of 155 mph.

The Panamera Turbo S has a top speed of 190 mph... so on that long final straight if the Taycan Turbo S could go 190, it could go several seconds faster than 7:42. I'm guessing a 7:35 is possible.

 

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But wait! There's more! The Tesla time wasn't recorded at the standard start-finish position. Also, another Tesla was recorded at 7 minutes and 40 seconds which is much slower.

Tesla put both its red and blue Model S prototypes on the Nurburgring race track overnight (Wednesday afternoon German time) in its latest attempt to shatter the electric-car lap record of 7 minutes and 42 seconds set by the Porsche Taycan.

And one of the Tesla Model S sedans appears to have a stripped-out interior, not a full production car interior, giving it a significant weight advantage.

Despite the weight saving, stopwatch timing by our spy photographer Stefan Baldauf showed the fastest time recorded was in fact a fraction slower than earlier in the week.

“Unfortunately, the hand-stopped lap time of today was no surprise, as the fastest lap was the first lap with a time of 7:24 minutes from the red Tesla,” Baldauf wrote to us in an email. “This was only one second slower than the time we measured at the beginning of the week.”

As we reported earlier in the week, the lap times recorded by our photographer are of the full 20.8km circuit but not taken from the traditional start-finish position for record attempts.

“The lap time I have specified is valid for a full lap over the entire distance of 20.832 kilometres of the Nürburgring Nordschleife, not bridge-to-gantry as speculated on the internet,” said Baldauf.

“The driver of the red Tesla was Thomas Mutsch, as you can see in my pictures … on the helmet. The tyre used was again the Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport RS.”

The second lap in the blue Tesla produced a much slower time of around 7 minutes and 40 seconds, he said.

Tesla still has an opportunity to make another lap record attempt on Saturday German time, but it is unclear if the company will proceed with those plans.

In the meantime, there is growing speculation about the validity of the cars attempting the lap records. To be valid they need to be production based vehicles.

However, our photographer suspects the interior of the Tesla Model S Plaid is “completely empty”.

“Apart from a safety cage, a driver’s seat and a dashboard, the Tesla's interior seems to be completely empty and therefore also has a significant weight advantage (over) of the Porsche Taycan,” said Baldauf. “You cannot see a passenger seat and no back seats through the windows.”
 
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