A new wet handling track has been opened at Bridgestone’s European Proving Ground (EUPG) near Rome, Italy, enabling the tire maker to test in a range of weather conditions to optimize wet performance.
Bridgestone invested nearly €3m (US$3.38m) in the project and worked collaboratively with several partners, including new EV companies and traditional vehicle manufacturers, to refine the testing capabilities at the wet handling track. A virtual simulation was created before construction, with the tire maker taking a modular approach that enabled it to focus on separate areas of development – surface, layout and water management. Data and feedback were also collected from the OEMs and EUPG drivers.
Designed in association with Pisa University, Italy, the track surface features carefully selected aggregates with harder wearing attributes to aid in testing consistency over time. By delivering constant friction and grip levels, the surface will make it easier for Bridgestone to evaluate its tires. To improve tire development further, the latest track features a layout that enables slalom tests by using the fast chicane in either direction.
The European R&D Centre and Proving Ground provides Bridgestone with a wide range of surfaces which represent most European road conditions.
“Bridgestone is one of the leading investors in research and development in the industry and our state-of-the-art testing facilities are a substantial part of the company’s ongoing commitment to innovation,” commented Emilio Tiberio, COO and CTO, Bridgestone EMIA.
“By providing our customers and partners with different testing environments, including new road surfaces and conditions, we’re able to better address the seasonal effects on tire grip level, which ultimately improves safety for drivers.
“And while safety is of the utmost importance to us as a business, sustainability is too – that’s why we are continually evolving our processes to reduce resource consumption in order to have a more positive effect on people and planet.”