Porsche buys Nardo for high-speed tests

Published: 11 April 2012

Porsche has announced it is to take ownership of the famous Nardo Proving Ground in southern Italy.

The company’s engineering consultancy wing, the Porsche Engineering Group, will assume ownership as of May 2012. Nardo is currently owned by Italian firm Prototipo SpA. 

No fee has been disclosed by either party.

Why has Porsche shelled out for Nardo?

Most well-known for its 12.5km banked oval circuit used for very high-speed testing of well over 200mph, the Nardo complex also comprises a 6.2 km handling circuit.

This offers car manufacturers the chance to simulate a range of weather conditions and road surfaces before vehicles are signed off for general sale. It’s also handily hidden from prying eyes and considered one of the safer proving grounds for top-secret prototypes.

And because of the clement Italian climate, testing is possible year-round in three shifts around the clock, seven days a week.

So what’s Porsche’s plan for Nardo?

All these features should be perfect for testing Porsche’s diverse range to its limits, from the rough-and-tumble Cayenne to the upcoming 918 hybrid supercar. The company recently ran a series of passenger rides for the world’s media in the 918 at the 700-hectare Nardo site.

Matthias Muller, president and CEO of Porsche AG, said: ‘The Nardo proving ground with its high-speed and vehicle handling circuit ideally complements our facilities in Weissach.’

Expect to hear the the growl of those trademark flat-sixes on the Italian breeze from summer 2012…

By Ollie Kew

Former road tester and staff writer of this parish