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Toyota Is Doing What Ferrari Begun Decades Ago

Testing / 12 Comments

Why go all the way to Germany?

Toyota is tired of having to travel all the way to Germany to perform serious track testing at the world's most famous track, the Nurburgring. Instead, the Japanese automaker has now officially opened a new 3.3-mile proving ground outside Toyota City in Japan that features a "mini-Nurburgring" track. The world's most prestigious performance car companies, specifically Ferrari, all have their own test tracks. The Fiorano Circuit has been Ferrari's private racetrack since 1972.

Remember, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda has made it his mission for the carmaker to build more fun to drive cars, and having a local track to help make that happen has countless benefits. Toyoda is also an accomplished racing driver himself so he knows what's required to make cars emotional.

The announcement says Toyota is spending nearly $3 billion on the test course which covers around 2.5 square miles of green hills – just like the Green Hell itself. "Based on long experience of the Nürburgring Nordschleife, which is famous throughout the world for its grueling driving conditions," the company said in a press release, "Toyota has designed an exacting test course that takes advantage of local topography and features a roughly 75-meter change in elevation between its highest and lowest points, as well as a wide range of curves and corners."

The Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama, about 30 minutes away from the Toyota City headquarters, will employ around 3,300 people once it's fully up and running by 2023. The new test track was designed specifically to mimic the Nurburgring as much as possible and, fortunately, Toyota engineers and test drivers have spent a lot of time in recent years in Germany perfecting vehicles, such as the new Supra.

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Toyota is also preparing to begin serious development work on the next-generation 86 and its Subaru BRZ twin. The latest report claims Toyota will be taking the lead on that project this time around. Above all, every future Toyota, sports car or not, will benefit from this new test track and the R&D facility.

"With the aim of making ever-better cars, we have continued to make various efforts in 'feeling the road' and 'conversing with cars' through driving tests around the world," the company added. "With the replication of severe driving conditions at the new test course, we intend to thoroughly hone every one of our models and develop the types of cars that epitomize the true joy of driving."