Within this time, the NTC, covering over 700 hectares with more than 20 test tracks in the Apulian region, has transformed from a proving ground with unique tracks and facilities into an integrated center for the high-performance testing, validation, and development of the intelligent and connected vehicles.
“The acquisition of the Nardò Technical Center by Porsche in 2012 was an important enrichment for the whole Porsche Group,” says Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche AG and Chairman of the Shareholder's Committee of Porsche Engineering. “From the very beginning, Nardò has been a cornerstone for our vehicle development and testing—due to its special tracks as well as in-depth testing expertise. During the last ten years, it has evolved substantially, enabling ourselves and customers from all over the world to develop and validate future vehicles even more efficiently.”
Since 2012, changes have taken place across the whole proving ground: 80 million Euros have been invested in the modernization and technological advancement of the infrastructure, which includes tracks, workshops, and safety systems. The famous ring, which is 12.6 kilometers long and has a four-kilometer diameter, was completely renovated in 2019, including optical fiber cables for fast data transmission as well as various traffic signal opportunities to validate automated driving.
High-power charging stations have been set up across the whole proving ground—thus further laying the ground for future electric vehicles. Additional tracks and infrastructure have been established to test connected and automated functions of next generation vehicles, with a private 5G network enabling new services and even faster data transmission soon.
“Thanks to the support of Porsche and Porsche Engineering, the Nardò Technical Center has underlined its role for the automotive industry over the last decade,” says Antonio Gratis, Managing Director of the NTC. “At the same time, we were able to contribute to the growth of the entire local ecosystem in Apulia. We feel deeply connected with this prestigious region, its people and potential and strive to continue this successful path.”
Global network of Porsche Engineering
The development of the NTC is driven by the workforce and extension of its vehicle expertise: during the ten years of Porsche Engineering's management, the number of permanent employees has increased by more than 50 percent (from 105 in 2012 to over 160 in 2022). The engineers are fully integrated into the global innovation and development network of Porsche Engineering and enable a seamless transition between development, virtual simulation, and real testing. “We are all strongly committed to improve the quality of our services every day and thus contribute to the technological evolution that is sweeping the automotive industry,” continues Gratis.
Not only innovation and technology, but also a strong relationship with the local territory characterizes the NTC: landscape protection works have been carried out, as well as the strengthening of the fire-fighting system inside the test center to guarantee surveillance also of the surrounding areas, characterized by typical and worth protecting Mediterranean scrubland. Moreover, initiatives with the local community have been strengthened in recent years.
Assumption of social responsibility
Aware of NTC’s social responsibility and always looking for young talents, a fruitful cooperation with many schools and universities in the region has been established, for example by offering internships and support of expertise to students. Within the international Porsche initiative “Turbo for Talents”, the NTC sponsors the youth teams of the local A.C. Nardò football club, with the aim to strengthen personal skills of the youth such as self-confidence, fairness and team spirit. At the same time, employees have been involved in social projects in the region—such as the removal of plastic waste from a local beach.
About the Nardò Technical Center
The Nardò Technical Center in Apulia—since 2012 operated by Porsche Engineering Group GmbH—develops and tests the connected and intelligent vehicle of the future. Founded in 1975, it now operates more than 20 test tracks and test facilities on more than 700 hectares and employs more than 160 people. The Nardò Technical Center offers state-of-the-art engineering services for testing the cars of more than 90 car manufacturers worldwide. Nardò Technical Center's high-speed ring in Salento is unique in the world with a length of 12.6 kilometers, allowing vehicles to be tested under extreme conditions. Throughout its history, the Nardò Technical Center has hosted tests of considerable importance, in several cases setting records of international significance.
About Porsche Engineering
Porsche Engineering Group GmbH is an international technology partner to the automotive industry. The subsidiary of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG is developing the intelligent and connected vehicle of the future for its customers—including functions and software. Some 1,500 engineers and software developers are dedicated to the latest technologies, for example in the fields of highly automated driving functions, e-mobility and high-voltage systems, connectivity and artificial intelligence. They are carrying the tradition of Ferdinand Porsche’s design office, founded in 1931, into the future and developing the digital vehicle technologies of tomorrow. In doing so, they combine in-depth vehicle expertise with digital and software expertise.