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  • Writer's pictureNATALIA SOUSA

Pirellis Winter Proving Ground will be Operational Throughout Summer for All-Season Testing.

Updated: May 19, 2022

The winter test season has ended at Pirelli’s Sottozero Centre in Lapland, Sweden. However, summer test programmes are about to begin. Pirelli’s renowned winter testing facility will now host tests in summer as well, a move that has come about thanks to the increased need for product development – particularly when it comes to all-season and winter tyres – on both dry and wet roads.

Pirelli’s Sottozero Centre proving ground at Flurheden, around 900 kilometres north of Stockholm, covers an area of 120 hectares, with 250,000 square metres dedicated to circuits and 1300 square metres of buildings. The centre was opened in 2017 and expanded just a year later. The current layout includes handling circuits, an open test area, and tracks with inclines of up to 20%. A dry handling and wet handling circuit has been built for summer use, each 1200 metres long, and there’s also a 400-metre straight to test both dry and wet braking. The buildings include dedicated spaces for workshops and test personnel, with facilities that also incorporate a sauna – in proper Nordic style.

The variety of testing facilities available at the Pirelli Sottozero Centre allows tyres to be developed for every different type of car – and now every other kind of season. Furthermore, thanks to the available charging structure and the variety of tests that can be carried out, the Flurheden proving ground is also suited to the development of tyres for the latest generation of plug-in hybrids or full-electric cars. Among the manufacturers that have recently used the Swedish facilities to test Pirelli’s winter products is Croatian company Rimac, which tried out new winter tyres for its most recent electric hypercar, the Nevera.

The rate at which new cars come onto the market also means that there’s an increasing need for the most modern tyres adapted to the latest vehicles – which is why Pirelli has renewed its entire Cinturato and Scorpion range in just two years, over all three versions (summer, winter, and all-season).

While there’s a bigger reliance now on simulation and virtual reality, physical testing remains a plank of Pirelli’s development philosophy to validate performance, proving grounds are being used more. As well as the Sottozero Centre in Sweden, Pirelli can rely on its well-known Vizzola Ticino facility near Milan, which has specialised in wet handling for more than half a century and the new Circuito Panamericano in Brazil: currently the biggest circuit complex in all of Latin America.

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