The legendary Nardò Ring in Italy was reopened late last week after Porsche spent almost $40 million and seven months resurfacing and rejuvenating the place. Owned and operated by Porsche Engineering since 2012, the Nardò Technical Center’s most distinctive feature is a 7.8-mile, circular, banked test track that’s visible from space.
To give you an idea of what it’s all about, here’s a clip of Top Gear bravely taking it on in a trio of supercars a few years ago.
The track requires essentially zero steering angle, allowing for high-speed runs without scrubbing speed due to pesky turns.
Porsche says it has repaved the big circuit, installed an “innovative guardrail system” developed with high-speed testing in mind, and completely renovated the 26-acre “car dynamic platform”—something more commonly known as a skidpad. Although Nardò is owned by Porsche Engineering, the company regularly lets other manufacturers test there as well.
The Stuttgart-based firm’s engineering arm also offers “engineering services” for other OEMs. Exactly which automakers have gone to Porsche for help remain a mystery, though, since that client list is strictly and contractually confidential.
“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,” said Porsche Engineering managing director Malte Radmann. In addition to high speed stability, the facility is apparently used to test EV fast-charging behavior, assisted driving safety systems, and so-called autonomous driving.
“The goal is that our customers can test the mobility of the future,” said the center’s managing director, Antonio Gratis. He also says that there are plans to further improve the test track with “several more extensions and renewals.”
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