The modernisation of the test track is part of an investment totalling 28.5 million euros. At ten million euros the renewal of the high-speed circuit, the centrepiece of the Vauxhall-Opel Test Centre, and the installation of world-class test and sensor technologies, represent the single largest investment.
“The opening of the high-speed circuit is a milestone for our Test Centre,” said Mike Ableson, Opel/Vauxhall vice president of Engineering, during the opening ceremony. “This is a clear sign of our commitment to the long-term future of our development facilities in Germany. The extensions are a significant contribution to further increasing the quality of our products, and bringing affordable innovations to our customers fast.”
In a symbolic lap of the high-speed circuit with Steffen Saebisch, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Economy, Transport and Development in the state of Hesse, Ableson handed over the operation of one of the most versatile and modern test tracks in the world to the engineers and technicians in Dudenhofen. The parade lap of the high-speed circuit was led by the world record-breaking Eco Speedster, which set 17 international records at Dudenhofen in 2003, and an Opel Rekord from 1966, the year the test centre was opened.
In his speech Secretary of State Saebisch stated: “It is up to the car companies themselves to secure the industry’s ability to innovate and compete. Opel and GM have accepted the challenge. With their investments in the extension of the Dudenhofen Test Centre they have made a clear commitment to the future. It is the duty of politics to create the framework businesses need to overcome their challenges. This is why education, the reduction of bureaucracy, and the promotion of innovation are central themes for the Hesse government. Hesse needs a strong and dynamic industry to secure its prosperity, also in the future.”
The investments will enable the test centre to replicate nearly every driving profile imaginable. Mike Ableson: “We are cementing Dudenhofen’s reputation as one of the leading proving grounds in the world, and we are extending its business opportunities for development, component testing and brand communication. Our numerous long-standing external clients, including many development partners, will also benefit.”
The management of test programs at the Opel Test Centre has always met the highest demands for quality, precision and safety. New sensors in the surface of the high-speed circuit, and the full electrification of the control and measurement technology will take these standards to an even higher level in future. In the interest of customers, it is highly important that prototypes of future models are tested down to the last nut and bolt. That means driving the test cars at their limit under strictly controlled conditions. Thanks to the increase in the angle of the banking from 37.5 degrees to 40 degrees cars can now drive safely at 250 kilometres per hour on the high-speed circuit, without lateral forces.
Work on the additional extensions has already begun. During the remainder of 2012 Opel will build new tracks for testing pass-by noise and calibrating new engines. Additional highlights include an all-new traffic control system for the whole proving ground; new tracks for testing transmissions and driving dynamics at Formula 1 levels; and the near-identical copy of a public street, including a city-driving route.