• Jul 11, 2011
TME Zaventem Proving Ground – Click above for high-res images

When we went by the European headquarters of Toyota in Zaventem, Belgium, to check out the Lexus CT 200h then still under development, the Japanese automaker was in the middle of a vast expansion plan. A year later and after two years of construction, Toyota Motor Europe (TME) has completed its new test facility, and released details of all that it encompasses.

The new Zaventem Proving Ground includes a 0.8-mile banked oval, a 300-foot skidpad plus test roads to evaluate and fine-tune everything from ride comfort to brake performance.

All in all, the proving ground alone takes up 700,000 square and cost some $67 million to construct. The facility will allow Toyota to conduct much of its own R&D on-site at Zaventem, instead of booking time at the massive test track owned by Ford in Lommel or a similar complex.

Follow the jump for the full press release and scope out the aerial shots of the new facility in the high-res image gallery.
Show full PR text
TOYOTA EXPANDS EUROPEAN R&D OPERATIONS WITH NEW PROVING GROUND

Toyota Motor Europe (TME) inaugurated its own proving ground today at the TME Technical Centre, in Zaventem, Belgium. The state-of-the-art Zaventem Proving Ground, aimed at strengthening Toyota's European vehicle research and development, took two-and-a-half years to complete. The latest expansion represents an investment of €47 million (£42 million) and demonstrates Toyota's long-term commitment to Europe.

The new proving ground will play a vital role in Toyota's strategy for developing new models for the European small and compact car segments. Together with its accompanying facilities it covers an area of 65,000m² at the technical centre, which measures 187,000m² in total. Toyota employs 770 staff at the technical centre itself, of which 430 are engaged in research and development functions. To date, Toyota has invested €167 million (£149 million) in the Zaventem facility, including the latest investment of €47 million (£42 million) for the purchase and construction of the new proving ground.

Didier Leroy, TME President and CEO said: "The European automotive market is one of the most competitive in the world and our technical centre is already a key facility in Toyota's global R&D organisation. Thanks to the new proving ground, we will make use of our unique positioning and our facilities as a laboratory for innovations in a faster and more efficient way, so that we can develop the right car for our European customers, right here, in the heart of Europe."

As well as a 1.4 kilometre (0.8-mile) oval test track, the multi-purpose proving ground also features a 90-metre diameter skid pad, test roads to monitor noise and harshness and a lane for brake tests. The facilities allow Toyota's engineers to perform a wide variety of tests such as ride comfort, road noise and vibration, vehicle durability, cornering, engine performance and brake performance. Situated close to the main workshops and offices at the technical centre, the proving ground will handle most of the vehicle testing performed on site.

The environmental impact of the construction work was kept to a minimum. About 98 per cent of the excavation and building waste (approximately 36,000 tonnes) created during the project was recycled on-site. The development was integrated into its natural surroundings and a detailed noise study was conducted to ensure there is no disturbance caused to neighbours.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 6 Comments
      Klinkster
      • 3 Years Ago
      Good news for Toyota! By owning their own track, this will cut down all the spy shots of cars running back and forth to the Ford track. No need to hand competitors possible design & technology cue's for consideration. With this real-world test track with an appropriate oval - that's all that's needed for an automobile. Race cars are better suited for the "Ring". ;)
      Andre Neves
      • 3 Years Ago
      Funny how the track only has one hairpin turn. Toyota. No surprise there.
        DevonK
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Andre Neves
        Had that thought too - I'm sure it will be a common reaction here. Not exactly the Green Hell...
      Coconut Racing
      • 3 Years Ago
      Question, why would Ford let Toyota use their test track? Isn't that like letting the enemy know the blueprints to your castle? It's kind of like letting Toyota engineer their cars to be more like Fords... just something odd I was thinking about. Let me know your comments.
      narcszm
      • 3 Years Ago
      Three turns is about right. The long front straight is needed to get a Toyota up to freeway speeds.
      enthusiast
      • 3 Years Ago
      Looking awesome!