Tesla Model S Plaid Defeats Cars Built To Win Pikes Peak — “Nobody would expect us to be faster than that.” 

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When Tesla unveiled its new Plaid Model S earlier this month, it took the world by storm, fueling dreams of speed, racing, and fun. In the sense of a grand finale to Tesla’s event, another event was talked about in the weeks following. That event was the annual race to the summit of Pikes Peak. Also known as “The Race to the Clouds,” the entire track winds through 156 turns over 12.42 miles as it reaches the summit of Pikes Peak.

This year, the track had to be shortened due to the snow, but that didn’t stop a newcomer from participating and winning the Exhibition class. That winner being the Tesla Plaid Model S. With Randy Pobst in the driver’s seat of the modified electric car, the time for the Plaid Model S to reach the finish line from the base of the mountain was 6:57.2.

Out of Spec Studios shared a video of Randy Pobst as he exited out of the vehicle at the top of Pikes Peak. “It was a good run, ” Pobst said, grinning. “We ran good. Loads of power, took everything the Yokohama slicks had to offer, let me tell you. We have done a little sway bar change to try and balance it better. I’m really glad we did. The brakes held up, the suspension was fantastic.”

I chatted with the team at Unplugged Performance in a Twitter message and they shared their excitement with me.

“The UP Tesla Model S Plaid surprised a lot of people today by posting insane times that frequently beat purpose-built non-production-based race cars. For an electric 4800lb family sedan to defeat pure Pikes Peak built race cars in open-wheel and unlimited class is an astonishing result. 45 out of 55 cars were bested by the Plaid including an LMP3 race car.”

Photo by Unplugged Performance, used with permission

“Nobody would expect us to be faster than that.”

Not only did the Tesla Model S Plaid win, but Unplugged Performance won its class by a huge margin and defeated some cars built to win. The following list shows the time of the drivers, starting with Pobst.

  1. Randy Pobst; 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid,  6:57.220
  2. Nick Robinson; 2017 Acura NSX,  7:14.704
  3. Jordan Guitar; 2021 Acura TLX,  7:53.615.
  4. Gregoire Blachon;  2021 VW Bug Proto TRI-TDI Diesel,  7:58.661
  5. Joshua Allan; 2021 Tesla Model 3, 8:16.778
  6. Johan Schwartz; 2021 American X Kart CrossKart, 8:29.589
  7. Shawn Bassett; 1974 Datsun 240Z,  9:19.475
  8. Daijiro Yoshihara; 2018 Tesla Model 3;  11:41.162
Photo by Unplugged Performance, used with permission

The other two Teslas in the race may not have done as well as the Model S Plaid, but all three are a great representation that EVs are excellent performance vehicles.

Also, recall that last year Blake Fuller, who has won Pikes Peak twice, set a new electric car record in a Tesla Model 3 Performance, and Randy Pobst was just 2 seconds behind him:

Not only is this 2021 result a win for the team at Unplugged Performance and Randy Pobst, but it’s also another win for Tesla, electric vehicles, and those of us advocating for clean energy. Maye Musk often says, “Clean energy will win,” and today at Pikes Peak, an all-electric, zero-emission Tesla did win in the Exhibition class.

This also marks the first time a Tesla Plaid Model S has officially participated in race — the first of many more, no doubt.

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Johnna Crider

Johnna owns less than one share of $TSLA currently and supports Tesla's mission. She also gardens, collects interesting minerals and can be found on TikTok

Johnna Crider has 1996 posts and counting. See all posts by Johnna Crider