On May 11, 2021, a prototype Tesla Model S Plaid reportedly put down a quarter-mile time at Autoclub Famoso Raceway in California just a hair over nine seconds, breaking the record for quickest production car.
The news comes from an unlikely source: Jay Leno, who was spotted at said Bakersfield raceway when the Tesla made its record attempt. In early June, Leno confirmed to the Spike’s Car Radio podcast that he indeed saw a Model S Plaid trip the lights in the rumoured time.
“I’ll tell you what I did. I went up to Famoso Dragway in Bakersfield. And the Tesla Plaid… I drove by, and the NHRA guy was there to make it official. It turned a 9.247, at 152 mph,” Leno said.
Leno’s A/C quote is catchy, but of course, in an electric car, the air conditioning isn’t powered by the same motor as the wheels are like an internal-combustion-powered vehicle, so there’s no parasitic loss, a large benefit of the electric powertrain.
Regardless, a 9.247-second ET (elapsed time) puts the Model S Plaid Edition above the 2018 Bugatti Chiron Sport and the 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder, and if verified would mean it takes the number one spot for quickest production car in the quarter-mile.
Tesla itself, however, has not officially confirmed the number, but at this point we can probably trust Jay Leno more than Elon Musk anyway. The Tesla Model S Plaid delivery ceremony will take place on June 10 – the keys to the first one will be handed over then – and we expect that’s when the brand will make an official statement about the record.