The Tesla Model S Plaid Finally Tastes Defeat At The Hands Of A 1,000-Horsepower McLaren 720S! - story fullscreen Fullscreen

The Tesla Model S Plaid Finally Tastes Defeat At The Hands Of A 1,000-Horsepower McLaren 720S!

As it turns out, a McLaren 720S has what it takes to take down the Tesla Model S Plaid on a drag strip

Ever since the Tesla Model S Plaid arrived, it has taken the drag racing scene by storm. The mighty fast EV has downed big names like the Lamborghini Huracan EVO, the McLaren 765 LT, the Dodge Demon, the Nissan GT-R, and even the Porsche Taycan Turbo S, to name a few. Now, the McLaren 720S Spider took it upon itself to avenge the humiliation the Plaid has caused to those cars, and it has successfully done it. All hail the McLaren 720S Spider!

Performance Check – Tesla Model S Plaid

The Tesla Model S Plaid Finally Tastes Defeat At The Hands Of A 1,000-Horsepower McLaren 720S!
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The Tesla Model S Plaid features a tri-motor setup that churns out 1,020 horses combined. All the four wheels are powered here.

The Plaid had a 73-percent charge before the race began, which means it wasn’t at its best. It is equipped with Michelin Pilot 4S tires and weighs 4,833 pounds.

Performance Check – McLaren 720S Spider

The Tesla Model S Plaid Finally Tastes Defeat At The Hands Of A 1,000-Horsepower McLaren 720S!
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The 2020 McLaren 720S Spider is powered by a 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V-8 engine. This example comes with new downpipes and intake, and is tuned, too. Courtesy of this, it makes 850 horses at the wheels, which is about 1,000 ponies at the crank.

Power is routed to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The car rides on Toyo R888R tires and weighs around 3,180 pounds.

Race 1 of 3:

The Tesla Model S Plaid Finally Tastes Defeat At The Hands Of A 1,000-Horsepower McLaren 720S!
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What made the races even better was how consistent the drivers were throughout. In the first drag race, both the drivers had similar reaction times. The McLaren had an amazing launch and got the lead right off the line. It maintained the same till the very end to claim the first win of the night. The McLaren took just 9.3 seconds at a trap speed of 150.82 mph to complete the quarter-mile race. The Model S Plaid took 9.4 seconds at 147.65 mph.

Winner – McLaren 720S Spider

Race 2 of 3:

The Tesla Model S Plaid Finally Tastes Defeat At The Hands Of A 1,000-Horsepower McLaren 720S!
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In the second race, Brooks had a bloody good reaction time (0.113 seconds) that resulted in the Plaid sprinting off the line better than the McLaren. The latter’s driver wasn’t bad by any means (reaction time - .268 seconds), but not as good as the Plaid’s. This led to the downfall of the British car. If you observe closely, the 720S Spider had started to catch up in the second half. Had this been a half-mile race, the result could’ve been different.

The Tesla Model S Plaid Finally Tastes Defeat At The Hands Of A 1,000-Horsepower McLaren 720S!
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If you consider the time alone, the McLaren won the race. It finished the quarter-mile run in 9.313 seconds at 150.06 mph, whereas the Plaid took 9.432 seconds at 147.73 mph. Do the math and you’ll see that the sprint time difference between the two is less than the reaction time difference. This means if the McLaren’s driver had the exact same reaction time as the Plaid’s, it would’ve won the race by .036 seconds. When you’re talking about fast cars, even such small margins make a huge difference.

Winner – Tesla Model S Plaid

Race 3 of 3:

The Tesla Model S Plaid Finally Tastes Defeat At The Hands Of A 1,000-Horsepower McLaren 720S!
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The third race again witnessed the Plaid getting a quicker start off the line. But, unlike the previous time, the 720S was able to catch up before the finish line to claim the victory. The McLaren’s reaction time was slightly slower this time as well (.258 vs .150), but it didn’t make a difference in the end. The McLaren 720S Spider finished the race in 9.313 seconds at 150.63 mph, whereas the Tesla Model S Plaid finished in 9.452 seconds at 145.72 mph.

Winner – McLaren 720S Spider

Conclusion

The Tesla Model S Plaid Finally Tastes Defeat At The Hands Of A 1,000-Horsepower McLaren 720S!
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Swipe up to watch this insanely close series of races and share your thoughts in the comments section

A hard-fought victory for the McLaren 720S Spider ensures it now sits on the elite list with the Rimac Nevera and a remote control car (yes, a remote control car!!) that have beaten the Plaid in straight-line races! For what it’s worth, it is going to get even better and we can expect some cracking race in the future because a Model S Plaid with the aero kit has been spotted testing multiple times at the Nürburgring. And, not to mention, a driver recently managed to breach the nine-second quarter-mile time in a stock Model S Plaid.

For now, watch the race below and let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Senior Editor, Truck Expert, EV Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a senior editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
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