Nokian has begun testing at its brand new test center in Santa Cruz de la Zarza, in Spain.
The ten tracks are used to test the tires in extreme conditions, but the real jewel in the crown of the test center is the seven-kilometer oval track that encircles the site. The test center allows the company to accelerate product development cycles.
“With our test centers, we invest in innovation. The expansion of the testing business is a huge leap forward for us. The versatility of the tracks and the state-of-the-art facilities at the test center in Spain allow us to test tires on both dry and wet roads, so that neither heavy rain nor intense heat is likely to cause any surprises.
Winter in Lapland
“The Spanish test center, in addition to our winter test center in Ivalo, Lapland, brings our global testing capacity to the highest level possible,” says Olli Seppälä, Nokian’s Head of Research and Development.
“We can now test our tires in our own test center in all the conditions for which they were developed. This is an important competitive advantage for us, especially for products destined for the Central European and North American markets,” adds Seppälä.
Construction on the test center began in 2018. Interrupted for a while due to COVID-19, they later resumed when the situation stabilized. This is a very important project for Nokian Tyre’s growth. “The construction of testing facilities of this scale is very rare in the world, and the world-class testing conditions strengthen our credibility as a premium tire manufacturer,” says Jukka Kasi, Senior Vice President – Products and Innovations.
The various tracks are now complete, a team has been assembled for the test center, and the round building at the heart of the facility (the visitor center) is ready to receive visitors. “The entire project required sustained long-term work, unwavering passion and motivation, as well as a high level of professionalism,” says Jukka Kasi, who praises the Nokian Tyres team, recalling that their outstanding contribution made it possible to turn a dream into reality.”
The new test center already has a nickname: Hakka Ring, which was chosen in an internal competition. Nokian Tyres employees suggested about 150 different names for the new center. Hakka Ring won the contest, a fitting choice since Hakka and Hakkapelitta are some of Nokian Tyres’ well-known product brands and the term used for the world’s most famous tracks is “The Ring”.