The Kilowatts has captured some fresh images of the refreshed Model S running at speed around Laguna Seca Raceway. What’s really new here is its the first time we’ve seen a new Model S with an active aero wing at the back.
There has been no mention of this feature by Tesla for either the Model S Plaid, or Plaid+, so its not clear if this will make it to production, but it seems unlikely that Tesla would go to this much effort without plans to get it to customer vehicles.
After seeing photos of the roll cage inside the vehicle, it’s clear this is in-development, but when we review the requirements for the track, they state, vehicles performing Advanced/Open Passing Time Trial and Race cars are required to have a cage. This is true of Laguna Seca and many race tracks for safety reasons.
Tesla does have a very brief history with active aero, for a very short period of time, Tesla offered an active spoiler on the Model X which would reduce drag at highway speeds, but quickly reverted to a fixed version.
To maximise performance, it would make sense that Tesla uses the wing for active aero, acting like an air brake to slow the car into the corners and flatten out to reduce drag down the straights. What we know (from further conversation on clubhouse), that Ryan from the Kilowatts never seen it move during a lap, but was adjusted during pit stops.
It is possible that Tesla would send out the car with the spoiler at different angles, collecting data from each run. With this data, simulate the optimal angle for the spoiler at each corner. Knowing there were public eyes on the car, it’s possible Tesla isn’t ready to actually have a real crack at their best hotlap just yet, so are hiding the ultimate lap time for now.
It is also possible this is an early prototype version of the wing (although really well integrated into the body), with the Plaid+ still scheduled to be some time away from customer deliveries, so an active rear wing is definitely possible.
The red Model S Plaid (and likely Plaid+) featured no badges and was joined by a black Model S without this new wing.
It is possible that Tesla are getting close to production with the Model S refresh and are performing some final testing. Tesla’s Model S (and Model X) has been out of production for almost 6 months now, so if Tesla were able to include a bonus feature like this, it would be a great sweetener to owners that have been through a longer than expected wait.
Kilowatts also managed to capture the care taking the famous corkscrew.
From the images on the website, there’s certainly no indication that the rear wing can move at all.