Finger on the Pulse of the age

A talk with Francesco Nobile, Edmund Sander and Malte Radmann about the testing grounds at the Nardò Technical Center.

The Nardò Technical Center (NTC) has been available to the automotive industry for testing for 40 years and today is fresher and more innovative than ever. Francesco Nobile, Edmund Sander and Malte Radmann elaborate on the extent to which that is related to its acquisition by Porsche in 2012, or simply reflects the tradition of these great testing grounds.

Edmund Sander, Francesco Nobile, Malte Radmann, l.-r., 2015, Porsche AG
Edmund Sander, Francesco Nobile, Malte Radmann, l.-r., 2015, Porsche AG

Even in the traditional development areas such as chassis tuning, brake testing and drivetrain application, we are preparing ourselves for new challenges through planned course expansions and ongoing renovation and expansion measures for the existing courses and facilities. The aim is to provide the complete process chain of “testing as an engineering service” at the very highest level.

Radmann: ... this comprehensive range of services is increasingly expected by customers. Together with Porsche Engineering as an engineering services provider, we’re able to offer customers the execution of comprehensive testing programs and conduct them according to their requirements and to the absolute highest standards. In this process, the protected grounds of the NTC are the ideal location for transitioning functions from the computer to the track and make them a reality.

How does the fact that the NTC belongs to Porsche benefit customers?

Sander: The Nardò Technical Center is directly connected to a vehicle manufacturer and thus has a better understanding of development processes as a whole as well as the requirements that are associated with them. The customers definitely notice the difference.

Radmann: The improvements to the grounds are an especially visible aspect of this. The circular track and other courses are currently being resurfaced. The ongoing expansion and renovation work demonstrates that we’re not satisfied with merely being “good,” but are, as Mr Nobile said at the outset, already thinking of tomorrow and be- yond to ensure that we can provide the best possible testing conditions.

Nobile: ... and yet with all of the changes taking place, I would like to emphasize that one thing has remained the same: the diversity of customers. Just as in the past, the Nardò Technical Center remains open to all customers and is an important partner for the entire automotive industry.

To what extent are the employees and people living in the region around Nardò aware of these changes?

Nobile: First and foremost, there is the opportunity for new jobs, and for employees the Nardò Technical Center has also become notably more attractive, as belonging to the group has created the possibility that new career advancement options could open up.

Sander: Moreover, we’re already in contact with the university in Lecce as a possible future cooperation partner. Wherever possible, we try to support the region and its people in their interests. Our expansion and renovation measures are being conducted in harmony with the lovely natural surroundings here in the region.

What role do the regional conditions play in the services of the Nardò Technical Center?

Nobile: The regional conditions—in particular the climate—are a very special factor and make us absolutely unique. Scarcely any other proving ground offers the possibility of conducting testing nearly 365 days a year. Routes outside of the grounds also offer a plethora of excellent driving opportunities.

Sander: Let’s not forget the kindness of the people and the Italian way of life. Many long-standing customers appreciate the friendly atmosphere that characterizes this place.

Nobile: That’s true. Here, German precision meets Italian openness and warm-heartedness. At the latest when they sit down for their first Italian dinner after a hard and successful day of testing, customers are often already planning their next visit.

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