Nardò Technical Center: 10 years with Porsche
Southern Italy is home to the Nardò Technical Center (NTC), the proving ground owned by Porsche and operated by Porsche Engineering. It recently celebrated a decade since its acquisition by the German sports car manufacturer.
NTC covers over 700 hectares with more than 20 test tracks in the Apulian region, it has transformed from a proving ground with unique tracks and facilities into an integrated center for the high-performance testing, validation, and development of the intelligent and connected vehicles.
“The acquisition of the Nardò Technical Center by Porsche in 2012 was an important enrichment for the whole Porsche Group,” says Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche AG and Chairman of the Shareholder's Committee of Porsche Engineering. “From the very beginning, Nardò has been a cornerstone for our vehicle development and testing—due to its special tracks as well as in-depth testing expertise. During the last ten years, it has evolved substantially, enabling us and customers worldwide to develop and validate future vehicles even more efficiently.”
Since 2012, changes have taken place across the whole proving ground: 80 million Euros have been invested in the modernization and technological advancement of the infrastructure, which includes tracks, workshops, and safety systems. The famous ring, which is 12.6 kilometres long and has a four-kilometre diameter, was completely renovated in 2019, including optical fibre cables for fast data transmission and various traffic signal opportunities to validate automated driving.
High-power charging stations have been set up across the whole proving ground—thus further laying the basis for future electric vehicles. Furthermore, additional tracks and infrastructure have been established to test next-generation vehicles' connected and automated functions, with a private 5G network enabling new services and even faster data transmission soon.
“Thanks to the support of Porsche and Porsche Engineering, the Nardò Technical Center has underlined its role for the automotive industry over the last decade,” says Antonio Gratis, Managing Director of the NTC. “At the same time, we were able to contribute to the growth of the entire local ecosystem in Apulia. Therefore, we feel deeply connected with this prestigious region, its people and potential and strive to continue this successful path.”
The development of the NTC is driven by the workforce and extension of its vehicle expertise. During the ten years of Porsche Engineering's management, the number of permanent employees has increased by more than 50 percent (from 105 in 2012 to over 160 in 2022). The engineers are fully integrated into the global innovation and development network of Porsche Engineering and enable a seamless transition between development, virtual simulation, and real testing. “We are all strongly committed to improving our services' quality every day and thus contribute to the technological evolution that is sweeping the automotive industry,” continues Gratis.