This is going to be epic to watch.
It's Pikes Peak season, and oh boy, it is set to be an epic installation of the iconic hill climb. Bentley is aiming to send its record-breaking Continental GT3 back up the mountain for another taste of victory, and other entries from Acura and Porsche look just as menacing.
If you follow the time attack style of racing, you probably know about an exciting electric project that has been in the works for some time now. Although it's not the only Tesla involved in this sort of challenge, this one is built by Unplugged Performance, and just like with last year's impressive showing, Hall of Famer Randy Pobst will be behind the wheel.
It's difficult to tell with all the decals, but it's a Tesla Model S Plaid that serves as the base of this attack car. It was first unveiled two days after deliveries of the Model S Plaid began, highlighting the company's close connection with Tesla. It now features a stripped-out interior with the airbags, center console, and door panels all removed. In their place are a roll cage and a racing seat with six-point harnesses. The large front splitter and massive adjustable rear wing are both made from carbon, which is as far as the body modifications go. But there are plenty of changes under the skin.
The factory air springs are retained but custom Unplugged Performance/Bilstein dampers and a three-way adjustable rear anti-roll bar have been fitted for better rigidity and handling. Custom forged aluminum wheels keep the unsprung weight down and are wrapped in Yokohama Advan slicks. The stock brake calipers are retained too but with Unplugged Performance/PFC discs. Finally, air jacks are fitted to make tire and suspension changes a breeze.
Before Pobst gets to take it up the mountain, adjustable upper control arms, adjustable rear camber arms, and upgraded brake pads will be fitted. That said, things already look very good, with Pobst returning from a testing session at Laguna Seca with 34% charge remaining and no loss of power compared to when full. In last year's Model 3 race car, "the power would go down in ratio to some degree". So it seems that Tesla's cooling systems and battery pack technology are both improving. Let's just hope the Model S Plaid is as impressive in the real world.