History Milestones & Records
On July 1ˢᵗ, 1975, the Proving Ground at Nardò opened its doors to the automotive industry. Initially starting with three test tracks and one workshop it soon became one of the biggest proving grounds in the world with more than 20 test tracks and facilities.
1975 - The establishment of the Test Center
The Test Centre is established by FIAT Group as the "Society for Automobile Test Tracks Nardò" ("Società Autopiste Sperimentale Nardò") on July 1ˢᵗ, 1975. The first nucleus of the Nardò Technical Center was the ancient Masseria Fattizze (now used as administrative offices), two workshops, a control tower, the Car Dynamic Platform and the famous Circular Track.
1980 - Improvement of the Safety Standards
With the installation of the so-called "anti-dozing-bumps" (anti-sleep bumps) at the edge of the circuit, safety standards have been raised to a high level since 1980: the bumps make sure that drivers are alerted if they leave the road after momentarily falling asleep. In the following years, the first accident warning system was installed to alert all drivers on the track about dangerous situations.
1999 - Acquisition by Prototipo and the new emissions room
After 24 years from its foundation, the Prototipo Group acquires the testing center: the testing services provider, established in Piedmont in 1991, expands its range of test facilities adding the Nardò Technical Center among its facilities.
In the same year, the realization of the emissions room allowed an innovative measurement of emissions from petrol and diesel engines, with related measurement of fuel consumption and testing activities on emissions and catalytic efficiency.
2000 - Workshop Area Expansion
In order to meet the needs of the increasing number of customers, four new workshop buildings were built in 2000. The total area for workshops and offices available to customers amounts to around 5000 m².
2002 - Testing driving comfort and noise generation
An important expansion of the Test Centre is the construction of the Special Pavements Track in 2002: six different surfaces are made for optimal testing of vehicle comfort. A further innovation is the construction of the Noise Track with a special surface for the measurement of pass-by noise.
2008 - Opening of the Handling Track
The 6,222 metre long Handling Track consists of a single straight and curves with always different width and inclination. The track, inspired by Formula 1 circuits, in its first meaning, named the 16 curves with the ancient names of the Salento territory (Leuca, Castrum, Hydruntum, Apulia, Egnatia, Messapia, Neretum, etc.).
2012 - The Porsche Group acquires the Nardò Technical Center
The Porsche group acquires the Nardò Technical Center. The Proving Ground in Southern Italy becomes part of Porsche Engineering, the group's subsidiary specializing in engineering services with more than 80 years of experience in the area of development services both for the automotive industry and other sectors. With the integration of the Test Center, Porsche Engineering has thus extended its offer and service portfolio even further.
2015 - 40ᵗʰ Anniversary of the Proving Ground
On the occasion of its 40ᵗʰ anniversary, Nardò Technical Center is more innovative and dynamic than ever: it invests heavily in security infrastructure and in construction and renovation projects to continue to fully meet customers' needs, even in the future.
2017 - Re-surfaced Noise Track
The objective of the renovation is to restore the surface layer of the asphalt using high requirements of surface texture, for a perfect adherence of the wear layer, while improving the already high safety standards.
2019 - Renowed Circular Track and Dynamic Platform
The 12.6 km long Car Circular Track is completely renovated and an innovative guardrail system, developed by Porsche Engineering specifically for high performance testing, is also installed. The operation also involved the complete renovation of the Car Dynamic Platform, with a new dynamic surface area of 106,000 m²
Since ever, the test centre has been the scene of all-time track records and tests set by world-class cars and racing drivers.
Strap in and read more about our incredible records, tests and their stories.
Historic Records & Tests
1977 - Niki Lauda tests the six-wheeled Ferrari 312 T2
The Ferrari 312 T2 that Niki Lauda tests on the circuit on 13ᵗʰ March 1977 is a unique prototype. It aims to improve the aerodynamics of the car and for this reason it is equipped with 6 wheels, mounting 4 front wheels on the rear axle.
1979 - Mercedes-Benz C111- IV
The 400 km/h barrier is crossed with a specially built car: the Mercedes-Benz C111- IV reaches a speed of 403.978 km/h. With this car, the chief engineer Hans Liebold drove the "flying lap" on the Nardò circuit in 1:57 min.
1980 - Volkswagen ARVW
Over 5 meters long, over 360 km/h speed, only 13.6 litres of fuel consumption per 100 km and only one person on board: this is the ARVW (Aerodynamic Research VW) which in October 1980 set six class records and two world records on the Nardò circuit.
1982 - Porsche & Alfa Romeo
Porsche: On 07ᵗʰ November 1982, the Porsche 928 S set the 24-hour record. At the time, the revolutionary Porsche car with front engine and manual rear-axle gearbox covered the 6,033 kilometres at an average speed of 251.4 km/h.
Alfa Romeo: In November, 4 standard production models "Alfasud Sprint fast 1.5", "Alfetta turbodiesel", "Nuova Giulietta 2.0", "Nuova Giulietta 2.0 turbodiesel" set 18 international speed and durability records, on the Nardò track: 50,000 km equal to the round-the-world distance, with exceptional averages.
1983 - Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16
The Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 was a star of the year 1983: in just 201 hours, 39 minutes and 43 seconds it covered a distance of 50,000 kilometres.
In addition to this result, two other world records were set over a distance of 25,000 kilometres and 9 records in its category. For the vehicle, and especially for the new four-valve engine, this result was an impressive proof of reliability over extreme long distances.
1986 - The Elf France prototype
The Elf 500cc prototype established six world-speed records in ELF R (for record) form, fitted with special streamlining. Four drivers took turns for this feat: Hubert Auriol achieved the 10 km stopped at the start on the R, Eric Courly the mile launched on the 500, while Ron Haslam and Christian Le Liard, classics among Elf drivers, collected the other trophies. The most spectacular of these was the launched mile, carried out by Le Liard on the Elf-R at 306.491 - km/h, the top speed recorded on time standing at more than 312 km/h.
1988 - Audi & Honda
Audi: after introducing their new five valve engines, in 1988 Audi went to Nardo with three prototypes: five cylinder / five valve engines, turbo-charged, 650 HP, 2.9 bar boost, 6500 RPM, four wheel drive, catalyc converter, aluminum roof / doors and kevlar bonnets. Top speed up to 400 km/h. Driver, tyres and complete engine oil coud be changed in 25 seconds. In the same time refueling of 340 liter unleaded petrol took place. Drivers were mostly german speaking sportscar racers like Walter Lechner, Olaf Manthey, Sigi Brunn, Hellmut Mundas or Rudi Seher. The team managed to achieve several FIA-approved World Records, including 500 miles - 324.509 km/h, 1000 kilometres - 326.403 km/h.
Honda: the Honda NR 750 cc enters the Guinness Book of Records with its rider Loris Capirossi, as it is the protagonist of several sprint records including those on kilometer (299.825km/h) and 10 km (at 283.55km/h) starting from a standing start.
1994 - Violent Violet, Suzuki & Bugatti
Violent Violet Electric Motorcycle: on the ring track Max Biaggi sets 5 world records on the electric Violent Violet, with a weight of 232 kg: on the ¼ mile, on the kilometer, on the mile from stationary, in addition to the record on the kilometer and mile launched (164.498 km/h).
Suzuki: the Suzuki RF900R was successful in numerous long-distance record attempts thanks to the guidance of real talent and the tyres fitted - the Metzeler.
The average and speed recorded was impressive: 162 mph and 152 mph for 24 hours.
Bugatti: on July 2nd 1994 the Bugatti EB110GT, piloted by Loris Bicocchi, set the speed record for methane powered cars with road homologation, reaching a speed of 344.7 km/h.
1995 - Bertone Z.E.R. & Aprilia
Bertone Z.E.R.: on May 21ˢᵗ 1995, on the track of Nardo', the Bertone ZER (Zero Emission Record) reaches 303.977 km/h. At the wheel Oscar De Vita, a 25 year old engineer.
The ZER, 4.2 metres long and weighing 890 kilograms, used an engine with permanent magnets.
Aprilia: the Aprilia 250 cc established the kilometer launched at a speed of 254.021 kilometers per hour.
2000 - Pirelli's twelve motorcycle world records
Pirelli has set twelve new motorcycle world speed records.
The endeavor was completed in 24 hours, by a team composed of 9 pilots. The records were set in two different record categories using a Suzuki GSXR 750R and a Suzuki Hayabusa.
The Suzuki Hayabusa 1300, in particular, established ten world records, including the launched kilometre record - the all-time best performance over that distance.
2002 - Volkswagen W12 Nardò & Lamborghini Murcielago
Volkswagen W12 Nardò: on February 23ʳᵈ, 2002 Volkswagen W12 also known as Volkswagen Nardò set the world record for average speed over 24 hours, covering a distance of 7740.576 km at an average speed of 322.891 km/h. At the wheel, Giorgio Sanna.
Lamborghini Murcielago: on the 12.6 km ring, Lamborghini completes 22 out of 25 laps at an average speed of over 320 km/h, thus setting an international speed record of 1 hour for production cars (Category B), alternative non-turbo four-stroke engine (Group II) for cars with a total displacement of over 6,000 cc (Class 18), covering 305,041 km (189,543 miles). At the wheel of the "Murcielago", Giorgio Sanna, test and development driver at Lamborghini.
2004 - Eliica electric concept
The Eliica electric concept car, characterized by 8-wheel drive, reached a speed of 370 km/h on the Nardò circuit.
2005 - Koenigsegg CCR
On 28ᵗʰ February 2005 the Koenigsegg CCR, driven by Loris Bicocchi, set the speed record for a production car, reaching 388 km/h.
2008 - Mercedes-Benz Truck Actros III
Measurement test carried out with a 40-tonne truck: "Actros Mercedes-Benz" covers 12,728.94 kilometres with 19.44 litres of diesel fuel. For this record, the "Guinnes World Records" observers considered it appropriate to place it in the category "The most fuel efficient 40-tonne truck".
2009 - Pirelli tyres Angel ST world record
Using a single set of Angel ST tyres mounted on the Suzuki Hayabusa GSX R 1300 2009 model, the distance of 5135.071 kilometres was covered at an average speed of 213.961 km/h in a gruelling non-stop endurance test. Comparable to a road lap of 12,000 kilometres at touring speed (80-100 km/h), the test demonstrated excellent consistency of the tyre's performance, setting the world record for a 24-hour endurance class FIM A11 (1000cc to 1350cc class).
2019 - Porsche Taycan endurance test
On August 18ᵗʰ, a pre-series model of the electric Porsche Taycan covered the distance of 3.425 km in just 24 hours.The distance is equivalent to a journey from the south of Puglia (South Italy) to the centre of Norway.