Porsche Buys Nardo Proving Ground

Porsche has announced that it will take over the test facility at Nardò in southern Italy from next month. Take over means buy: Porsche Cars GB confirmed to me that that the company has bought the facility.

Nardò has been at the heart of European auto testing programmes for many years, and it sounds like that will continue. This will be a relief to the travelling technicians from many marques who like testing prototype cars and vans in the Italian sun! Some good Porsche friends among them.

The Proving Ground is famous for its 12.5-kilometre high-speed bowl, site of many Porsche speed tests over the years. One of the most impressive was the 200 mph run by the TechArt Cayenne Turbo in 2010. Equipped with 680 horsepower and a TechArt aerodynamic kit, the Cayenne was probably doing a true speed of closer to 215 mph, losing some of it through tyre scrub on the banking.

Nardò’s banking is designed so that there is no lateral force up to 240 km/h, almost 150 mph. Running at this speed in the outside lane of four, the steering wheel does not need to be turned. Interestingly, this is as fast as tests are allowed to be run unless the facility has been booked for exclusive use.

The stable climate at the facility, which is situated slightly inland from Italy’s southeast Mediterranean coastline, means the site can be used all year ’round. When Porsche takes over next month, the priority will be to update some of the facilities before opening the place for proper Porsche business, and making it available to other manufacturers. I look forward to visiting the place myself one day.

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