Porsche 918 prototype testing at Nardo

If Porsche wants to test out a new vehicle at speed – and you can usually bet that at any given time Porsche will be testing a new vehicle at speed – it's got miles and miles of Autobahn at which to do it. Not enough? There's the Nürburgring and all of its myriad turns and changes in surface. It's also got its own facilities at Weissach at its disposal. But considering the quantity (and, for fans of the company's products, quality) of Porsche's vehicles, even that's not enough. So what's a sportscar manufacturer to do? Get a track in Italy, of course. And that's just what Porsche has done.

Announced just today, Porsche has acquired the Nardo Technical Centre from Prototipo SpA, the Italian firm owned by Gian Mario Rossignolo (who has been hard at work reviving the De Tomaso marque). Now if the name Nardo rings a bell, that's because it's known for its 7.8-mile banked oval capable of handling high-speed runs in excess of 200 mph. But it also has a 3.8-mile handling circuit where a variety of automakers and tuners like to test out their prototypes.

And starting next month, they'll need to rent space from Porsche (whose 918 Spyder prototype is pictured above undergoing testing at Nardo) to do so, assuming Porsche is willing to rent out the space. Something tells us that sister brands under the Volkswagen umbrella like Lamborghini and Bugatti won't have too much trouble getting some track time, though. Sroll down for the official announcement.
Show full PR text
Porsche Engineering takes over proving ground in Italy

Stuttgart/Nardò. In May 2012, the Porsche Engineering Group will be taking over responsibility for the Nardò Technical Center automotive proving ground in Apulia in southern Italy from Prototipo SpA. With more than 80 years experience in engineering services, the hundred per cent subsidiary of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, will be further optimising the test facilities and making them available to its clients for testing and trials purposes. Covering an area of more than 700 hectares, the test ground in the Province of Lecce comprises a 6.2 kilometre long handling circuit, a 12.5 kilometre long oval circuit and facilities for simulating different road surfaces and changeable weather conditions.

"The Nardò proving ground with its high-speed and vehicle handling circuit ideally complements our facilities in Weissach. With the systematic development of the company in Nardò as part of Strategy 2018, Porsche is proving to be a reliable employer and business partner in Apulia as well," said Matthias Müller, President and CEO of Porsche AG.

"With its rich array of facilities, from dynamic surfaces to acoustic and off-road sections coupled with the numerous workshops, our clients can continue to make extensive use of Nardò for their vehicle trials in the future as well," said Malte Radmann, CEO of Porsche Engineering. Thanks to the mild climate, the Nardò proving ground can be used throughout the year in three shifts around the clock, seven days a week.

Together with the Porsche Development Centre in Weissach near Stuttgart, the Porsche Engineering Group has been offering Porsche's extensive development expertise as a service to its clients from the automotive industry and other sectors worldwide, from renting test rigs to developing complete vehicles.