Nokian Tyres has begun testing activity at its new 300-hectare Test Center in Santa Cruz de la Zarza, Spain. All 10 tracks at the facility are being used to test tyres in extreme conditions, including its 7km-long oval track that circles the site, with a speed limit of 300 km/h. Construction work at the site began in 2018, but was interrupted during the outbreak of Covid-19, continuing once the situation stabilised and safety measures were implemented. Nokian Tyres regards the project as an important part of its growth strategy, especially as it enables year-round testing of summer, all-season and winter tyres.
“All our test centers are investments in innovativeness, and the expansion of testing activities is a big and important leap for us. The versatile tracks and modern equipment of the Spain test centre enable us to test tyres in wet and dry [conditions], so that heavy rain or intense heat will not bring any surprises. The Spain Test Center, combined with our [700-hectare] Ivalo winter Test Center in Lapland, takes our overall testing capability to the highest possible level,” stated Olli Seppälä, Nokian Tyres’ head of R&D.
“Now we can test our tyres in our own test centre in all the conditions they are developed for. This is a big competitive advantage for us – especially when considering the products developed for the Central European market as well as for the North American market,” he added.
The test centre has been given a nickname: Hakka Ring. In an internal name competition, Nokian Tyres’ employees suggested around 150 different nicknames for the test center. Hakka Ring was chosen as the winner because Hakka and Hakkapeliitta are tyre product lines produced by the company, and as the most famous tracks in the world are called ‘Ring’.
“Similar test centres are rarely built in the world, and the world-class test conditions increase our credibility as a premium tyre manufacturer,” stated Jukka Kasi, the company’s SVP for products and innovations.