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Porsche Reopens One Of The World's Coolest Test Tracks

Race Track / 1 Comment

You can even see it from space.

The world is full of some impressive race tracks, like Volkswagen Group's Ehra-Lessien test track, which contains a 5.4-mile straightaway where the Bugatti Veyron achieved its record top speed. Few race tracks have enough room for a car like the Veyron or a Koenigsegg to even attempt a top speed run, but the Nardo Technical Center in Italy was one of the few places where they could get close. Fans of BBC's Top Gear may remember it as the track where Clarkson, Hammond, and May tried to hit top speed in a Lamborghini Aventador, McLaren MP4-12C, and Noble M600.

Porsche has owned the track since 2012, but the company closed the facility in 2019 while it invested 35 million euros (around $39 million) to renovate it. But the renovations are now completed and the track has been reopened for more high-speed shenanigans.

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The Nardo Technical Center itself is much larger than most enthusiasts can guess, containing over 20 tracks and facilities on which to test new cars, but the pièce de résistance is the 12.6-kilometer (about 7.8 miles) circular race track that is so vast, it can even be seen from space. Porsche Engineering has improved upon it by installing a new guardrail system to make high-speed testing safer. Since the track is one big corner, no car can truly achieve their highest top speed on it - but it was built so perfectly, you can actually go around it with no hands on the steering wheel.

"With the modernization of the tracks, the strategic development of the Nardo Technical Center advances decisively," says Malte Radmann, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Nardo Technical Center and Managing Director 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."

"The goal is that our customers can test the mobility of the future," commented Antonio Gratis, Managing Director of the Nardo Technical Center. "There are several more extensions and renewals planned for the future. In addition, we want to promote the growth of the entire local ecosystem with further development."