Feature Flick: Tesla Model S Races a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Z51

We recently named the Tesla Model S P85 on a list of our favorite sleeper cars, but this latest clip might really let the secret loose. The all-electric Tesla Model S P85 lined up for two runs against a heady competitor at Palm Beach International Raceway—a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray equipped with the Z51 performance package and a six-speed automatic—and the results are delightfully eyebrow-raising.

The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette, our 2014 Automobile of the Year, is a well-known powerhouse thanks to its blaring 6.2-liter V-8 engine that commands 455 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. With the Z51 performance package, the iconic sports car gets performance gear ratios, an electric limited-slip differential, upgraded chassis components, a unique aerodynamics kit, bigger 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels — and a power boost to 460 hp. All that raw American Corvette muscle sets the bar high for the underdog Tesla Model S, our 2013 Automobile of the Year. The Tesla’s P85 performance package gives the Model S a surging 416 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, which is immediately available at 0 rpm thanks to the all-electric drivetrain. There's also no delay when the Tesla changes gear, as it has a single-speed transmission.

Contributor Ezra Dyer has shown that the Tesla Model S is capable of out-dragging a 560-hp BMW M5, much to the chagrin of many an M fanboy. Can the wily Tesla Model S dethrone another mainstay performance nameplate? Will the Tesla’s all-electric power have enough juice to hang with the Corvette’s hellish gasoline V-8? To see whether the 2013 Automobile of the Year can take down the 2014 Automobile of the Year, you’ll have to watch the video below.

Christopher Griffin
Actually, the "first race" shown in the video was really the second race. If you look at the times on each slip, you will see that the Corvette won the first race at 1:40PM, and the Tesla won the second race at 4:14PM. 

Also, on other sites, there are people saying that the Tesla left too soon, or "red-lighted" on the "first race". This is not true! If the Tesla would have left early, the last yellow light on the tree would still be lit along with the red light on the bottom. Instead, you can clearly see that both green lights are lit. I practically "grew up" at the drag strips, and the Tesla actually cut an almost perfect light at 0.005 of a second after his light turned green. The Corvette had a reaction time of 0.357 of a second. The Corvette's 1/4-mile time of 12.049 seconds, was calculated from the time when he was done "sleeping at the light", and unblocked the light beam that was being blocked by the backside of his front tires. If you take the Tesla's ET of 12.378 seconds and subtract the Corvette's 12.049 seconds, you get a difference of 0.329 seconds. The difference between reaction times is 0.352 seconds. Now subtract 0.329 from 0.352 and you get a difference of 0.023 seconds, which is exactly the margin of victory for the Tesla. The Tesla won this race "at the starting line", plain and simple!
Kenneth Herbert
I want one! (Either one.)

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