Posted: Apr 15, 2019
Is This the World's Fastest Tesla?
OPTIMA's Search for the Ultimate Street Car, presented by Advance Auto Parts, visits racetracks around the country, where competitors take their street legal cars out onto the track in pursuit of the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car title. While the series is in it's sixth season, 2019 marks the third full season of the GTE Class for electric vehicles (not including hybrids). It is in that class that Dr. Karen Thomas competes in her 2018 Tesla Model X P100D, where she is the current points leader.
The 2019 schedule included a visit to Daytona International Speedway, where competitors in the Falken Road Course Time Trial essentially ran on the same track configuration as that used during the Rolex 24 Hours endurance race. That meant extended time on the high-banked tri-oval racing surface, where triple-digit speeds are the norm. Now in the racing world, a distinction is often made between "quickest" and "fastest." Sometimes the two are used together to proclaim a car is both the quickest & fastest that meets a specific set of criteria, most often in drag racing.
However, in land speed racing and other such forms, it's not whether or not a car arrives at a specific place before another (quickest), but how fast it goes when it is running (fastest). There are already several Tesla Model S sedans running deep into the 10s at the dragstrip, which could definitely put them into contention for being among the world's quickest Teslas, but most of those cars are only accelerating on a quarter-mile dragstrip and most won't see 130 mph in that stretch. We've also seen some Teslas in half-mile runs trap over 140 mph. The tri-oval is a 2.5-mile circuit, although in the road course configuration, it is broken up to include an infield portion, extending the total distance to about 3.56 miles.
While the cars are on the tri-oval, they are carrying quite a bit of speed in two different sections and Dr. Thomas told us she definitely saw 135 mph at one point, but likely went beyond 140 mph, but was too focused on the track and task at hand to watch the speedometer. Thomas attributes her speed to a recent Ludicrous Plus mode download, which she indicated definitely came with a noticeable performance improvement at lower speeds. The question is, how far beyond 140 mph did she go at Daytona and does that make her Tesla the world's fastest? Did she hit 150 mph or even more (many other cars exceeded 180 mph at this event)? Something tells us Elon Musk is keeping track of that kind of stuff and he probably knows the answer.
Learn more about how you can put your EV into competition in OPTIMA's Search for the Ultimate Street Car, presented by Advance Auto Parts at www.DriveOPTIMA.com