Tesla CEO Elon Musk claimed that the race was a quarter mile, but a satellite view of the drag strip tells a different story.
Have you seen the rather impressive quarter-mile race between the new Tesla Cybertruck and a Porsche 911? It was one of the coolest pieces of last week’s Tesla Cybertruck launch, especially when the camera cut to the shot of the Cybertruck towing an identically spec'd 911 in a trailer behind it as it crossed the finish line with the first 911 hot on its tail.
But as it turns out, the race—if its entirety was shown—was filmed on was over a much shorter eighth-mile distance. And with the Porsche creeping up on the Cybertruck’s tail as it crossed the finish line, the outcome of a race held over a full quarter-mile may not have been the same.
One eagle-eyed Redditor happened to notice that the race was held at the now-closed Sacramento Raceway. When comparing the stills from Tesla’s footage, it can be seen that the Cybertruck and Porsche were set up to race across the first set of thick lines painted on the track, which are placed at the eighth-mile marker alongside the grandstands. (Those are not present at the quarter-mile markings on the track.) Yet during the press conference, even Tesla CEO Elon Musk was adamant that it was a proper quarter-mile drag.
“This is an actual Porsche. We literally just got it from the dealer. 2023 Porsche 911,” Musk said during the Cybertruck launch event. “It can tow a Porsche 911 across a quarter mile faster than the Porsche 911 can go by itself.”
Immediately after showing the Cybertruck win the race, Tesla claims that the highest trim Cyberbeast version of its truck can run the quarter mile in under 11.0 seconds, though it’s assumed this is without towing a 3,300-pound sports coupe on a 1,500-pound trailer.
Perhaps showing this figure directly after the eighth-mile drag, combined with Musk’s claim of the truck beating out the Porsche in a quarter mile, is what led to this misconception.
It's hard to know exactly what happened here, since we can't ask Tesla, which doesn't speak to the media. An examination of the video reveals it was definitely an eighth-of-a-mile; the grandstands don't extend to the quarter-mile marker.