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Tesla to take on Porsche

Porsche and Tesla could be set for a Nurburgring showdown.

Is Tesla feeling the heat from Porsche already?

The American brand’s boss Elon Musk was busy on Twitter in the wake of the unveiling of the all-new electric German sports sedan, the Taycan. Musk sent several tweets in the wake of the Porsche’s public reveal, poking fun at the use of the nameplate ‘Turbo’ and seemingly challenging the Taycan’s recent record run at Germany’s Nurburgring circuit.

The Tesla chief has claimed he is sending an example of its Model S to the Nurburgring, a claim that has reportedly been confirmed by the company to US publication Road & Track.

“Model S on Nurburgring next week,” Musk wrote on the social media platform.

However, the upcoming test session at the Nurburgring is what’s known as an industry pool day, which is designed for car makers to develop the handling of their new models on the famed 20km track. Lap timing is specifically banned on industry pool days, so if Tesla does show up with a Model S it won’t be able to attempt to beat Porsche’s 7m42s lap time.

Thanks to the wonders of Twitter Musk has managed to draft in a superstar driver to aid his cause, with former Formula One champion turned vlogger Nico Rosberg offering to drive the Tesla. 

“Give me a call if you need a decent driver to do the lap!” Rosberg replied to Musk’s tweet.

Rosberg is an electric car convert, investing in the all-electric Formula E racing series among his post-F1 interests. 

So it remains unclear what Tesla is trying to achieve at the Nurburgring and if Rosberg will actually show up (or if it’s just a social media conversation) or if he’s even approved to drive at the industry pool days; which are typically reserved for selected engineers and test drivers.

Musk added a later tweet acknowledging the performance of the Porsche is impressive saying: “But Taycan does seem like a good car. Nurburgring track time is great.”

Regardless of what happens in Germany next week it seems Porsche has got Musk thinking. The Taycan is the most serious rival to the Model S in terms of performance, luxury and prestige and could put more pressure on Tesla to begin turning a profit.

The two cars have similar specifications but the Model S does have some on-paper advantages including a more powerful battery (100kWh vs 93.4kWh), longer range (555km vs 449km) and more power (568kW v 460kW). 

Porsche does have the upper hand on torque (maximum 1050Nm vs 931Nm) as well as the reputation and heritage that goes with making some of the world’s most impressive sports cars for more than 70 years.

The Tesla will also outsprint the Porsche, with the Model S Performance launching from 0-100km/h in just 2.6sec compared to the 2.8sec the Taycan S takes.

Importantly Porsche has emphasised repeatable performance, with the German firm claiming that during testing of the Taycan it accelerated from 0-200km/h 26 consecutive times with each run taking less than 10.0-seconds and the difference between the fastest and slowest time just 0.8secs.

Musk also took a jab at Porsche’s naming structure of Taycan Turbo and Turbo S tweeting: “Um @Porsche, this word Turbo does not mean what you think it does.”

Although it was quickly pointed out to Musk that those were strong words from the man who uses supercharger and autopilot on his vehicles. 

It seems like this is only the beginning of the battle between the two brands in the fight for the electric performance car market high ground. Stay tuned...