If you've been involved with Porsche's latest major project
, you might feel like you've been going around in circles. That's because you have. Fortunately, that was the goal. And now the fastest circle in the world is ready to go. It's the Nardo Technical Centre, and it's ready for a new generation of automotive testing.
The Nardo Ring was first built in 1975. By Fiat, so it could complete more high-speed testing. It's located near Nardo, Italy. In Italy's heel, as it were.
The main feature of the track is a 12.6 km long oval. That's about 4 km in diameter. It's a big circle. Look for it on Google Earth, and it looks like somebody has nicely circled the facility for you.
It might be the only test track with a car named after it. Volkswagen's Nardo W12. That was a 1997 concept that VW built with a W12 engine that was able to run a 322.9 km/h average over 24 hours on the ring. Setting a world record.
Since 2012, the facility has been owned by Porsche, but it was time for a freshening. One that took seven months and 35 million euros.
Work at the facility included a new crash barrier system. Developed by Porsche especially for this unique facility. There was also a complete renovation of the 106,000 square metre vehicle dynamics testing area.
"This test site has always been unique and now more than ever the cornerstone of Porsche's development strategy and vehicle testing throughout the automotive industry," said Porsche Engineering Managing Director Malte Radmann, who is also responsible for the centre.
There are more than 20 test tracks at the facility, and 700 hectares of space. Even though the main high-speed track is a circle, the graduated banking means that even at very high speeds, the driver doesn't have to turn the wheel. A report from back when Porsche bought the track said that the neutral speed (the hands-off speed) of the outer lane was 240 km/h.
On top of the Nardo W12's record, Koenigsegg
also used this track to take a CCR to 388 km/h back in 2005.
Home mostly to pre-production models, this track doesn't get much glamour. But these latest changes from Porsche help ensure that it keeps making cars better and that it will continue to do so as new forms of propulsion and new types of mobility arrive.