The Historic Nardò Test Track, Home Of Recordbreakers and Prototypes, Has Been Re-Opened After Renovation
Originally opened on 1 July 1975, the “Corporation for Automobile Test Tracks Nardò” in Apulia, Italy was designed to give automotive manufactures a world-class facility where they could test their latest vehicles and technical innovations. Over the years it has been host to some fascinating concept cars like the six-wheeled Formula 1 Ferrari that Niki Lauda drove on the circular track back in 1977 and many high-speed tests and a number of land speed records have also been set here.
Back in 1979 Mercedes-Benz took its 500hp 4.8-liter twin-turbo C111-IV concept car to a speed of 403.978km/h (250mph), and Bugatti set a world speed record of 344.7km/h (214mph) in 1994 for natural gas-powered vehicles with an EB110 GT. But mostly the facilities at Nardò have been instrumental in assisting manufacturers to ensure that the next-generation of vehicles are safer, quieter and more efficient than their predecessors. To keep pace with industry developments and better serve its 90 automotive customers, Porsche Engineering Group, the owners of the facility since 2012, have just announced a reopening of the test tracks after an extensive renovation.
Aside from that iconic 12.6-km (7.8-mile) circular test track, the Nardò Technical Center has over 20 tracks and facilities spread out over more than 700 hectares. The upgrades required an investment of €35-million ($39-million) to complete.
“With the modernization of the tracks, the strategic development of the Nardò Technical Center advances decisively,” says Malte Radmann, chairman of the board of directors of the Nardò Technical Center and MD of Porsche Engineering. “This proving ground has always been one-of-a-kind and is now more than ever a cornerstone of the Porsche development strategy and of the vehicle testing activities in the automotive industry as a whole.”
Testing at the complex is a key component of Porsche’s own vehicle development strategies, and now that the asphalting of the circular track and construction of the complex guardrail system is complete both Porsche and its customers can continue testing their products in safe conditions.
Porsche has also been looking at the future of the automobile and revealed its Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid in Nardo in 2017. With cars like the all-electric Taycan being introduced, there are also plans to expand on the electric-vehicle testing facilities as Antonio Gratis, managing director of the Nardò Technical Center, explained: “The goal is that our customers can test the mobility of the future. Already today, there is the opportunity to test the current and future trends in automotive development, for example, the fast-charging behavior of electric vehicles, latest driver assistance systems, connected services and autonomous driving.”
Images courtesy of Porsche