Drag racing looks easy, and in its most basic form, it is. Line up next to another car, floor the throttle, and hang on. Barring some kind of mechanical failure, that process will get you to the finish line. There are other factors that make the process more difficult, but they can help get you to the finish line first.
As for this video, it's safe to assume the Tesla Model S Plaid holds a distinct horsepower advantage versus the competition. This is a 1,020-hp car that can reach 60 mph in around 2 seconds on street tires. We've seen it silently beat everything from muscle cars to supercars, and right now you might be wondering if it gets beat by the Mustang Shelby GT500 or the Dodge Charger Hellcat also featured in the clip. That would be a neat plot twist, but we won't even try to sugercoat the outcome. The Tesla wins, by a lot. But that's not what makes this race interesting.
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In short, we'd really love to have some mind-reading abilites for this showdown. Both the Mustang and Charger drivers make some egregious drag racing errors that have us wondering if the Tesla was messing with their heads. The first race is with the GT500, a previous-generation model that we're fairly certain is at least running some hefty race tires on the back. The driver gets a good launch and actually beats the Model S off the line, but it all comes apart when the 1-2 shift is completely botched. This was a short eighth-mile race too, and if the GT500 hadn't faltered, it would've been a very close finish.
The Charger Hellcat appears for the second race, which is a full quarter-mile pass. Neither car does a burnout, which isn't a problem for the all-wheel-drive Tesla. But cold rear tires on a Hellcat – even street tires on a prepped surface – have all the traction of wet soap on a treadmill. The light goes green, the Tesla takes off, and the Charger, well, doesn't. We hear the V8 spool up, then spool back down, and eventually, the super sedan gets rolling. It finished nearly four seconds behind the Model S, so yeah, lesson learned there.
We can't help wondering if these two drivers were a bit psyched out next to the Tesla. With the adrenaline pumping, mistakes do happen at the track. Add in the possibility of internal-combustion V8 power losing to an electric car (a concept that some car enthusiasts simply cannot fathom) and these races could've been lost before they even began.