Nokian Tyres has announced that it has started testing at its new test center in Santa Cruz de la Zarza, Spain. The site, nicknamed the Hakka Ring, consists of 10 tracks over a 300ha area, including a 7km oval track that circles the facility and can accommodate 300km/h tests.
“All our test centers are investments in innovation, and the expansion of testing activities is a big and important leap for us,” commented Olli Seppälä, head of research and development at Nokian. “The versatile tracks and modern equipment of the Spain test center enable us to test tires on wet and dry so that heavy rain or intense heat will not bring any surprises. The Spanish test center, combined with our Ivalo winter test center in Lapland, takes our overall testing capability to the highest-possible level.”
Nokian will use the center to speed up product development cycles and strengthen the company’s market position as a manufacturer of premium tires. The site will use an array of environmentally friendly technologies including 1,000 solar panels, water recycling and white roofs.
“Now we can test our tires in our own test center in all the conditions they are developed for. This is a big competitive advantage for us, especially considering the products developed for the Central European market as well as for the North American market,” continued Seppälä.
Construction of the Hakka Ring began in 2018. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the build was put on hold for a brief period to allow the international situation to stabilize and to put necessary safety measures in place.
“Similar test centers are rarely built, and the world-class test conditions increase our credibility as a premium tire manufacturer,” said Jukka Kasi, senior vice president of products and innovations. “The entire project has required long-term concentration as well as great passion, aspiration and professionalism to turn a dream into reality.”
With all the different tracks finalized, and a visitor center at the heart of the site, Nokian is now putting together a team to be based in the test center.