The Unplugged Performance team only had two weeks to prepare the Tesla Model S Plaid for this year’s Pikes Peak “Race To The Clouds” event. They had acquired the Plaid S just a couple of days after its launch and delivery event last month.
Besides preparing the vehicle for one of the world’s toughest high-altitude race tracks, no one had driven the Plaid Model S before, there was not much time to get used to it, the Plaid Mode had just been unleashed upon the world by Tesla.
This is where the Legendary race car driver Randy Pobst came into the picture. He has tons of prior experience with both Tesla and Unplugged Performance. His last year’s Pikes Peak run with the Tesla Model 3 Performance is a historic story in its own right.
Pobst has the privilege of being officially consulted by Tesla when the automaker was developing Track Mode software for its performance cars.
Pikes Peak is a difficult track because the weather is unpredictable each day. Not just that but with the variation of the altitude, different sections of the circuit can be wet or dry because of scattered rains, so the driver might face different road conditions in a single run. The Yokohama tires installed on the Unplugged Model S Plaid performed well on different road conditions within a single race and Randy seemed pretty confident of these slicks for the final run.
“Bottom section is really different from the top, it’s much more twisty and you got trees on both sides of the road, which is somehow comforting compared to having nothing but blue sky off the sides of the road, which is the way it is up at the top,” Randy Pobst explained the Pikes Peak race track in the following race preparation documentary.
Even in the practice runs, the Unplugged Model S Plaid performed the best in the Exhibition Class at Pikes Peak. “Our times were the fastest of our class by quite a bit and we were so relieved to get through that without an incident,” President of Unplugged Performance Ben Schaffer said.
The Race Day
Less sleep and more work enabled Randy and the team to get enough of the car’s feedback and tuning to be fully prepared for the race day.
The Unplugged Tesla Model S Plaid completed the final run in just 06:57.220 — grabbing the 1st position in the Exhibition Class, and 10th position overall (full results below).
For a 4,700 lbs (2,132 kg) large family sedan, this is a phenomenal result competing against purpose-built supercars with significantly lower weight and a much smaller frame.
Unplugged Performance recorded a 360 video of the Tesla Model S Plaid Pikes Peak final run which shows the intensity of the acceleration of this car and the level of difficulty this mountainous race track throws at the driver.
Unplugged Model S Plaid wasn’t the only Tesla competing at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. 2021 Tesla Model 3 driven by Joshua Allen scored the 5th position with a 08:16.778 time, and a 2018 Tesla Model 3 driven by Daijiro Yoshihara scored the 8th position with a time of 11:41.162. All of the Teslas competed in the Exhibition Class.
According to Randy Pobst, Tesla has installed “Alien Technology” in the Plaid Model S cars, the reason why it has broken the quarter-mile world record and posted a 0-60 mph acceleration of 1.98 seconds in independent testing.
If a Plaid Model S can conquer the Pikes Peak in the Exhibition Class, A Tesla Roadster in the future is all set to raise the bar even higher. This is the end of the internal combustion engine (ICE) age, the era of electric supercars has begun, stay tuned.