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Join the 1,100-hp Tesla Model S Plaid on the Laguna Seca

La Tesla Model S Plaid | Photo: YouTube (Sebastian Vittel)
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Daniel Rufiange
The car’s speed is simply incredible, but so is the absence of sound… and emotion
| Photo: YouTube (Sebastian Vittel)

Yesterday we reported on Elon Musk’s presentation of the Model S Plaid version and its 1,100-hp powertrain. The car will be the most-powerful ever conceived by the automaker, and not coincidentally it will also be the fastest. 0-96 km/h acceleration takes it less than two seconds.

Now, a new video just posted on YouTube shows the Model S Plaid taking a mere 90 seconds to complete a lap of the Laguna Seca track in California. Pilot Johannes van Overbeek of the IMSA racing circuit drove the car on its mad dash; he explains that it was shod in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 with an exclusive compound that will be available to buyers of the Plaid when it launches commercially.

To put that 90-second lap in context, it’s a mere 3 seconds slower than the record time (for a production car) posted by the McLaren Senna on the Laguna Seca. It also happens to be six seconds faster than the time recorded by a Plaid concept model in 2019. Elon Musk, being Elon Musk, says the car has a few seconds it can still shave off its 1m 30s time, and that it eventually “will achieve the best track time of any production vehicle ever”.

It’s easy to believe him when you check out the video. Also noteworthy when watching it is the eerie absence of an engine sound to draw us in. There’s just… absence. The power is undeniably there and more than impressive, but the emotion feels like it was left behind in the pits. That said, we imagine that wasn’t the case for the driver himself.

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Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists