Tesla’s prototype Model S might be quick – last week posting an unofficial time that would have shattered the Porsche Taycan’s lap record at the Nurburgring – but the US electric-car maker has suffered an embarrassing setback.
One of two cars sent to Germany to take the electric-car lap record away from Porsche has been filmed while conked out on the side of the road just a few hundred metres away from the pit exit, near the start of the 20.8km circuit.
Unfortunately for Tesla, the whole drama was caught on camera by Talea Media. The company posted the exclusive video to its YouTube channel last Wednesday (18 September 2019), but the footage has only found widespread circulation in the past 24 hours.
It’s apparent in the video that Tesla wanted to be as discreet as possible and quickly covered the red Tesla Model S to avoid further attention.
However, in addition to the Tesla’s unmistakable sillouette, the other huge giveaway came via two crew members with “Tesla” emblazoned across their sweaters.
Adding salt to the wound, the video shows a prototype example of the Porsche Taycan electric-car driving past the broken down Tesla over several laps while the Model S was being recovered.
It is unclear what caused the Tesla to break down but overseas reports claim the car will make another record attempt next month.
A company representative reportedly boasted its prototype is capable of a 7 minute 5 second time – well under the 7 minute 23 seconds snapped on a handheld stopwatch by industry observers last week, and well under the Porsche Taycan’s time of 7 minutes and 42 seconds.
Late last week, our spy photographers claimed at least one of the Tesla cars taking part in the record attempt had a stripped-out interior to save weight. By comparison, the Porsche Taycan was a showroom-condition production car.
Both Tesla cars at the Nurburgring (one red, one blue) appear to have wider, stickier tyres, carbon-ceramic brakes, a wider footprint, and a rear wing – items not yet available as customer-ready options.
For its part, Porsche is reportedly preparing a response to the Tesla attempt. Porsche still has the more powerful Taycan Turbo and Taycan Turbo S up its sleeve. Both of these Taycan variants are also pure electric cars, but wear Turbo badges as a symbol of their performance.
For a complete rundown on Tesla’s Nurburgring record attempt, read this explainer where we have bundled everything we know so far into one story.
In the meantime, CarAdvice will continue to keep you updated as soon as new information comes to hand.