Tesla’s Model S plaid to compete in Pikes Peak hill climb in 2021
On June 10, 2021, Elon Musk officially launched deliveries of the Tesla Model S Plaid of 1,020 horsepower. About two days later, on June 12, Disconnected performance debuted with his race-ready Model S Plaid, which is set to compete in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (with our resident pro racing driver, Randy Pobst, at the wheel). You might remember that during last year’s race, Pobst had a little moment and unexpectedly blew the Unplugged Performance Model 3 off the course. In a feat of determination, the Unplugged Performance team rebuilt the car overnight, and Pobst placed second in the show class – and in a car with only half the power!
What is that?
Unplugged Performance’s Plaid race car uses the original high-end Model S powertrain. The interior is almost completely stripped down. After dropping things like the car’s airbags, a center console and door panels, Unplugged Performance fitted this three-motor Tesla with a roll bar and a racing seat with racing belts at six points. The body is original except for a huge front splitter and a gigantic adjustable rear spoiler. Likewise, the Plaid racer retains its factory air springs, however, it uses custom Unplugged Performance / Bilstein shocks and a three-way adjustable rear anti-roll bar. The car rides on Yokohama Advan slicks on custom forged aluminum wheels. The so-called Pikes Plaid retains its original brake calipers but is replaced by Unplugged Performance / PFC rotors. Pneumatic cylinders? Yes ma’am. This thing is a real racing car. Before the car hits Colorado, the company intends to outfit its front end with a set of fully adjustable upper control arms, adjustable rear camber arms, and high-performance brake pads.
Unplugged Performance removed covers from its Pikes Plaid racer in third annual edition Hypercar Invitation is happening at Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca. The company completed the vehicle at 3 a.m. on June 11, loaded it onto a trailer, and then drove it directly onto the runway. In other words, the first time the completed car was driven was when it came straight out of its garage in Laguna Seca and onto the racing surface of the track, just as it should be. Pikes Plaid is in full shake-down mode for the next two days. Pobst was able to silently overtake several Lamborghinis, Porsches and McLarens, before breaking the divider on his second lap of the day.
What is disconnected performance?
Founded by Ben Schaffer in 2000 to customize Japanese cars (Ben was even an extra in The Fast and the Furious), Unplugged Performance moved into a building next to Tesla’s Hawthorne design studio in 2013, right next to SpaceX. Through this physical connection, Unplugged Performance began chatting with Tesla about modifying electric vehicles from automakers for enthusiasts. After falling in love with EVs as performance cars, Unplugged Performance quickly started building race cars, and in 2020 it brought a Tesla Model 3 to Pikes Peak. The difference between last year’s Model 3 and this year’s Plaid?
“Horsepower is the most important. It’s more than four times the horsepower we got last year. Unintentionally,” Schaffer said. Obviously, the Model S is heavier than the Model 3, however, “the battery and cooling systems are much better.”
Illustrating this point, Schaffer points out that as the state of charge decreased in Model 3, “the power would decrease to some extent.” The same is not true for the Pikes Plaid racer from Unplugged Performance. At one point, Pobst entered the pits of Laguna Seca with 34% charge remaining, only to announce that the car feels as fast as it does with a full charge. “It’s a big difference.”