Apollo Tyres has collaborated with India’s Global Automotive Research Centre (GARC) to establish the first test track in India for testing the wet grip of tyres. This project is a unique government – corporate partnership in India, and Apollo Tyres provided the technical expertise to create the appropriate track specifications.
The test track, located in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, forms part of the Indian government’s plan to implement star ratings for tyres, in line with the Tyre Labelling regulations in Europe. The objective of the plan is to help ensure road safety, and to improve the economic and environmental efficiency of road transport by promoting fuel-efficient and safe tyres with low noise levels. However, a major impediment to the Indian government’s plan of implementing star ratings was the country’s lack of approved track facilities, to test and assess traction on wet surface or wet grip, which means the relative braking performance on a wet surface.
GARC is one of the test centres established by India’s Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises (under NATRiP), located at Oragadam near Chennai, Tamil Nadu. It has been authorised as the test agency under CMVR 126 by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, with full-fledged R&D and homologation test facilities, including the test tracks, to certify all categories of vehicles, systems and components as per national and international standards.
TUV Rheinland, a facilitator for automotive homologation, has certified the compliance of the new test track in line with the stipulated conditions as in UNECE R117/ AIS 142. As part of the initiative, a new Indian automotive industry standard has also been prepared (AIS 142, in line with UNECE R117), which comprises the evaluation of tyres with regards to rolling sound emissions, adhesion on wet surfaces, and rolling resistance.
Commenting on the project, Satish Sharma, president for the Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (APMEA) regions at Apollo Tyres said, “Being the leader in the Indian tyre industry, we would like to further the cause of testing tyres and provide highest quality tyres to our customers across geographies. We proudly associated with GARC to create the first-of-its-kind wet-grip testing track, meeting UNECE R117 standards in India, thereby upping India’s self-sufficiency in tyre technology. This facility will not only help us test tyres for the Indian market, but also the ones that are exported, and need to meet the labelling requirements.”
Daniele Lorenzetti, CTO of Apollo Tyres added, “The new wet-grip track, developed by GARC and Apollo Tyres, shows a very good level of correlation with test tracks in Europe. This will enable Apollo Tyres to reduce time to market for its products, along with a reduction in testing costs. We are further exploring opportunities to collaborate with NATRiP to enhance the testing capabilities to support the mid/long-term challenges.”