Tesla Model S P85D Destroys Dodge Challenger Hellcat in a Drag Race … Or Does it?

A video of a Tesla P85D “destroying” a Dodge Challenger Hellcat in a 1/4 mile drage race has gone viral on the internet…  But did it really destroy the Hellcat? Let’s dig into this, and discover whether it was a case of the Tesla being faster than the Challenger Hellcat, or whether it was due to something else.

But first, here’s the video:

So, at first glance, it appears that the P85D does in fact “destroy” the Dodge Challenger Hellcat… But if you watch it again, and look closely, you just might find things aren’t as clear cut as they seem.

The action in the video starts at the 45 second mark when the 707 hp Hellcat begins it’s burnout, which it takes care of with ease.

At 1:13, you can see that the P85D is staged, as both of the yellow lights on his side of the tree are lit.

At 1:17, the Hellcat is staged.

This is where we get to the crucial moment that tells the story of what happened in this drag race. At 1:19, the Hellcat jumps the lights, and at 1:20 you can see the red lights come on, informing the driver of the Hellcat that his run is invalidated.

The Tesla is all clear, and so it proceeds to do it’s 1/4 mile run. The driver of the Hellcat either decides to put on a bit of a show, mashing the gas, employing all 707 hp to smoke his tires for about 1/3 of the track, or he just keeps pushing, foolishly hoping to catch up… it appears only he knows which.

So the Tesla P85D won, but did it really “destroy” the Hellcat? Not exactly… The driver of the Hellcat boned up, invalidated his run and one way or another put on a show of raw, gasoline powered, tire smoking goodness.

Is the Tesla P85D fast? Unquestionably. An 11.6 second 1/4 mile time is impressive. But according to official figures, the Hellcat can do a 1/4 mile in 11.2 at 125 mph on the stock tires, and can do a 10.95 at 126.18 mph if you throw on some street legal drag radials.

So what it all comes down to is the Tesla won due to driver error on the part of the driver of the Hellcat. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the Tesla P85D, it’s an awesome car, but it would have likely lost that drag race had the driver of the Hellcat not jumped the lights.