Porsche has just obliterated Tesla’s Nürburgring lap record with a mysterious new Taycan that lapped the 20.8 kilometres course in Germany’s Eifel region in just 7 minutes and 7.55 seconds, but there’s a catch.
The mystery Taycan demolished Tesla’s ‘Ring record by more than 18 seconds. Even more impressive, this new four-door Porsche is only two seconds slower around the ‘Ring than the wild, multimillion-dollar Rimac Nevera hypercar. The new Porsche went 26 seconds faster than the performance-package equipped Taycan Turbo S, which previously set a lap record back in August 2022.
“Twenty-six seconds is half an eternity in motorsport. [Driver Lars Kern’s] lap time of 7:07.55 minutes on the Nordschleife is sensational, putting the Taycan in the same league as electric hypercars,” said Kevin Giek, head of the Taycan line. “And the impressive thing about it is that over several laps, Lars clocked almost exactly the same time.”
Of course, Porsche was never just going to let Tesla’s Model S Plaid keep its Nürburgring crown; the ‘Ring is home turf for Porsche, and we knew the German brand would eventually hit back, we just didn’t know how. Until now.
The catch here is that the car Porsche used to smash the ‘Ring record is just a pre-production prototype. The company hasn’t given any details on the car; we don’t even know it’s name. All we know is that this mysterious machine is an upcoming new member of the Taycan family. The prototype was outfitted with a roll-cage and bucket seats, as per Nürburgring safety regulations, but as far as we know that’s the only difference between this prototype and the upcoming production model.
Could this be the rumoured triple-motor Taycan? Are there three high-power electric motors lurking under that metal skin? Nothing is confirmed, but we’d put money on it, yes.
Having two motors on the rear axle allows for better control of each individual wheel, eliminating understeer or oversteer, or even triggering it, as needed. With one motor for each rear wheel, they can be controlled individually, without having to take power away from one wheel to give it to the other. There’s a lot of computerized wizardry involved in making this technology work seamlessly with the driver, but if the previous Taycan is any indication, we have no doubt Porsche’s engineers are up to the challenge.
What’s in a Name?
If we had to speculate on the mysterious car’s name, we’d wager it’ll be called the 2024 or 2025 Taycan Turbo GT. (If you’re well-versed in Porsche lore, you’ll know the “Turbo GT” moniker is the one used on the ultimate high-performance version of the Cayenne SUV.)
The triple-motor Tesla Model S Plaid used to set the previous lap record of 7:25.231 was equipped with the Track Package. The basic Plaid, with its 1,020 horsepower and carbon-fibre aerodynamic parts, costs $124,990 in Canada. The optional Track Package costs $27,395 and adds forged aluminum wheels, track-ready tires and brake fluid, carbon-silicon carbide rotors and one-piece forged calipers. Top speed is rated at 322 km/h. Even without the Track Pack, Tesla claims the car can do 0-100 km/h in 2.1 seconds, and 1/4 mile in 9.23 seconds at 250 km/h.
To beat those figures, this mysterious new Porsche Taycan will have to be something very special. Power is easy for EVs, but handling is the real key. And, handling was always Porsche’s strong suit. The brand’s bread-and-butter is sports cars, like the benchmark 911 GT3 and the sublime 718 Spyder. Put your hands on the steering wheel of either of those Porsche sports cars and within a couple kilometres you can feel how they’re special. Porsche’s best cars just feel more connected to the road, more immediate in their responses, and — crucially — more transparent and predictable too. As a driver, it’s like you can almost feel what the car is about to do before it does it. Engineering that level of engagement and feedback isn’t easy in this computer-controlled, digital-car era. But, Porsche has managed to do it again and again.
We’ve had nearly all of the top-performing EVs through the SHARP garages, and we’re confident in saying the Porsche Taycan Turbo S has, to date, been the best-handling EV of them all. All of which is to say, we really can’t wait to see what the engineers in Zuffenhausen have cooked up next.