Hyundai has officially opened its brand new European Test Centre at the Nürburgring in Germany, the company’s latest investment in its regional infrastructure. An opening ceremony marked the completion of the AUD$9 million purpose-built vehicle testing facility, boosting the brand’s R&D operations in Europe.
The company’s new test centre provides it with a full-time presence at the iconic Nürburgring circuit, allowing it to further evaluate and develop the durability and driving dynamics of its vehicles more effectively, and more often.
Construction of the striking 3,622m2 Hyundai European Test Centre began in June 2012 and was completed in less than 15 months. The unique glass and steel building houses workshops, office spaces and hospitality areas over four floors. The Nürburgring facility is an extension of Hyundai’s European R&D centre in Rüsselsheim, Germany, where the brand’s European design and engineering teams have been based since 2003.
Hyundai’s accelerated durability tests are conducted from the European Test Centre. Each vehicle taking part in testing laps the Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit 480 times, in both dry and wet conditions, simulating over 160,000 kilometres of rigorous driving in less than six weeks.
Throughout each lap, data parameters are continually monitored, assessing steering input and vehicle course, suspension movement and ride and handling characteristics. The results are given directly to the vehicle development team based at the circuit, enabling Hyundai’s engineers to quickly make changes and tailor dynamic characteristics.
Allan Rushforth, Senior Vice President and COO of Hyundai Motor Europe commented: “The Nürburgring is a unique challenge for any vehicle, so it is the perfect location for our new facility. The new European Test Centre is a natural extension of our Technical Centre in Rüsselsheim, and enables Hyundai to more quickly and more accurately test the reliability and drivability of our vehicles. The emotional appeal of being ‘tested at Nürburgring’ will also help to further build the brand’s reputation across Europe.”
The Nürburgring is widely recognised as one of the most challenging tracks in the world, consisting of 170 corners spread across 20.8 kilometres of tarmac. With a difference in height of almost 300 metres between the lowest and the highest points, it features uphill and downhill gradients of 11 and 17 per cent respectively.