The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado saw a new production electric vehicle record set by a Tesla Model S. Driven by Blake Fuller, the CEO of portable battery company GO Puck and racing batteries maker Braille Battery, the Model S raced up Pikes Peak at a blistering time of 11:48.
Measuring 12.42 miles long and climbing 4,720 feet — with 156 turns — Pikes Peak was dominated by electric vehicles, with specialized racing electric vehicles from eO, Acura, and Tajima Rimac placing second, third, and fifth, respectively. Fuller had been expected to race a heavily modified Model S at Pikes Peak, but it turned out that the only changes that were really made to the Tesla were in the pursuit of lightening: a stripped down interior and a roll cage, reducing the weight by around 800 pounds. That still left the Model S at nearly 2 tons, making the new electric production vehicle record time it set (beating a previous record of around 13 minutes) even more impressive.
Amusingly, the GO Puck team had to resort to rather old-school means to combat the biggest performance limitation facing Tesla vehicles: heat. Those that have tried endurance racing a Tesla have learned that the car will reduce its output under sustained heavy loads to prevent damaging overheating of the battery pack. So prior to the race they iced down the battery pack by stuffing the space under the parked car with bags of ice.
Just a few days later, Tesla took a Model X to another famous hilly race: the Goodwood Hill Climb at the Festival of Speed 2016 in England. While the Goodwood Hill Climb often plays host to classic cars racing up the hill, new cars are more and more taking on the 1.16-mile-long, 304-foot-tall race. If it doesn't seem right for an SUV to be taking part in a race like that — let alone one that weighs 6 tons — consider that the Model X P90D with Ludicrous Speed Upgrade that Tesla brought to Goodwood has a top speed of 155mph and a 0-60mph time of just 3.2 seconds. It's also eerily quiet in a race that's filled with noisy cars.
The Model X's performance at Goodwood also marked the public UK debut of the vehicle. Tesla started taking orders for the right-hand drive version of the Model X earlier this month, with a starting price of £71,900 for the 5-seat Model X 75D.