Tesla Model S Plaid Drag Races Dodge Challenger - So It Begins

Tesla Model S Plaid Vs Dodge Challenger drag race 8 photos
Photo: ICSI / YouTube screenshot
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It's been over a week since Tesla delivered the first Plaid Model S units to their new owners, and we're yet to see it in an actual drag race against another car.
Not that it would make much sense, to be fair, since we know there is nothing out there that can possibly hope to keep up with it over the quarter mile, and maybe even beyond - at least not in production guise. It's now up to Porsche and the gang to come up with their next move, though legacy carmakers tend to take a long time to react. It's that whole thing about turning ocean liners.

While the rest of the industry is hopefully cooking up an EV to match the Plaid's performance - we don't have a horse in this race, we just want to see some healthy competition that yields really fast cars - we have here a very brave Dodge Challenger that accepted the... challenge (if not the Challenger, then who else?) and lined up on the drag strip beside a Model S Plaid (the video description says it's a Charger, but even though the quality is poor, it still looks like a Challenger to us).

Did the driver think they could win it? Probably not. Actually, the fact they jumped the start tells us they were probably pretty nervous and knew they would have to get everything perfect to even begin to think they stood a chance. In reality, though, apart from throwing an anti-tank mine in front of the vehicle next to them, there was absolutely nothing they could have done to win it.

To make matters even worse for the Dodge, judging by its elapsed time, it's not even a Hellcat, but probably just an SRT8. However, looking at the Tesla's time (10.84), you can see that not even a stock Hellcat could have been able to beat it.

But wait a minute, 10.84 is far from the kind of results Tesla has been teasing about the Plaid prior to its release. There were talks of 9.24 seconds and trap speeds of nearly 155 mph, so what gives? Well, there are a couple of possible explanations.

First, maybe the Tesla driver was only after the win and not trying to see how fast the car could go, so once they knew the W was in the bag, they just let off and only pushed as hard as it took to stay ahead. And then there's the trickier situation that makes buying a Model S Plaid with drag racing in mind a bit complicated.

According to the NHRA and IHRA regulations, cars that run the quarter mile in under ten seconds are required to be fitted with, among other things, a roll cage and parachute, and the driver has to wear a helmet and protective clothing. That could explain the driver lifting off the throttle mid-way through the race, adjusting the car's performance so it would remain safely above the ten-second mark.

It will be interesting to see how this situation pans out because as it stands, it pretty much forces Model S Plaid owners to choose between one or the other - drag racing the car, or using it as intended. On the other hand, it may be a little finicky to get in and out but imagine how cool the kids would feel getting dropped off at school in a car with a roll cage and a parachute. Dad, on the other hand, could lose the racing jumpsuit and helmet, but knowing dads, he probably wouldn't.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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