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 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 (1,500 kilogram) sports coupe on a 1,500-pound (680 kg) 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. 

Tesla Cybertruck Porsche 911 Race

It's also not clear how Tesla actually spec'd its dealer-lot Porsche 911. Musk simply said it was an “actual” 911 and that Tesla had picked it up from a dealership. The lowliest (if you want to call such a car that) 911 Carrera crosses the quarter mile in around 12.2 seconds and offers a zero-to-60 mph sprint in 3.9 seconds—that’s with a manual transmission. Porsche’s fast-shifting PDK dual-clutch gearbox shaves a half-second from that zero-to-60 time. It would appear that Tesla’s track car used a manual transmission, as the nose of the car can be seen dipping while the car shifts into second gear during Tesla’s race footage.

In Tesla’s defense, the tri-motor Cybertruck is remarkably quick. Plus, it’s around $15,000 cheaper than the Porsche. But it’s worth calling out that there probably isn’t much overlap in folks who cross-shop these vehicles, especially since the 911 is engineered more for balance than for straight-line speed, anyway.

That being said, the Cybertruck also supposedly wasn’t engineered just for straight-line speed but it's plenty fast anyway. In an interview with Tesla’s chief designer, Franz Von Holzhausen, it was revealed that CEO Musk mandated that the Cybertruck “had to drive like a sports car but have all the utility of a pickup truck”—all while its first prototype was delivered in just 93 days. Part of Tesla’s solution for this was in the sail panels of the truck. That panel alone is responsible for 25% of the vehicle’s torsional stiffness.

Despite all of this, we can probably assume that bombing the truck around a proper racetrack likely doesn’t feel like same as a Porsche 911.

I’ll give Tesla credit where it’s due: the stunt was good. It got people (including me) commending the automaker for a great job at marketing a flagship product four years in the making. But, one could argue that the mentioning of the quarter mile time directly after an eighth-mile race was also a bit misleading in the same go.

There’s no denying that the Cybertruck will be quick to 60, or in a straight line from a dig. Hell, it even appears to have some pretty decent towing advantages thanks to its all-electric torque. But whether it is faster than a Porsche 911 in a quarter-mile race, while towing another 911, remains unclear.