Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted Thursday that the company will take a Model S to the Nürburgring "next week," setting up a showdown with the new 2020 Porsche Taycan.
The tweet, which followed chatter from Musk and Tesla aficionados regarding Porsche's electric sedan, was short and to-the-point:
Model S on Nürburgring next week— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 5, 2019
Given Porsche's high-profile 'ring effort for the Taycan, which resulted in a new record for four-door EVs, it stands to reason that Tesla has been planning a rebuttal for some time. After all, it takes a lot of time and preparation to send a car to the 'Ring and post a time.
However, Tesla won't be allowed to set a time. Tesla reached out to Road & Track to say how it is running the 'Ring.
"Tesla is excited to be a part at the Industry Pool testing community next week at the Nürburgring. Our participation is confirmed and contracted by the Nürburgring," the company told R&T.
Industry Pool testing is open lapping reserved exclusively for automakers—no privateers are allowed. Running a full lap to set a time is also not allowed during Industry Pool testing. That's likely because the track gets crowded with all kinds of vehicles from the various manufacturers.
Thus far, the only 'Ring times recorded for Tesla's Model S have been set by amateurs, with speculation that a professional driver in a properly configured car could set a sub-9-minute lap time. While that would settle doubts as to whether the Tesla Model S could successfully complete a lap of famous circuit, it would still fall well short of Porsche's record-setting performance.
Porsche's Taycan set a lap time of 7 minutes and 42 seconds, which put it in the lofty company of gasoline-powered sport sedans such as the company's own Panamera Turbo (7:38), the BMW M5 (7:38.92), and the current four-door king, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio (7:32).
Despite its performance credentials, Porsche's Taycan quickly became a lightning rod for speculation and criticism from electric vehicle enthusiasts of all stripes---Musk included---with quite a bit of negativity directed toward the Taycan's projected range (which is significantly less than that of the Model S) and the choice of the "Turbo" moniker for a car that does not actually employ turbocharging.
Um @Porsche, this word Turbo does not mean what you think it does— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 5, 2019
Critics have also called into question the relevance of Porsche's demonstrations of the Taycan's ability to deliver repeatable performance. While repeated launch control runs don't necessarily translate to lap times, they may speak to the Taycan's durability. It remains to be seen whether the Model S is capable of sustaining performance long enough to set a respectable time and it doesn't look like we'll find out anytime soon.
Update: This story has been updated to include Tesla's response to Road & Track and what it means to participate in Industry Pool day.