Nokian Tires has begun testing in the new Test Center in Santa Cruz de la Zarza, Spain. All 10 tracks are being used to test the tires in extreme conditions, and the crown jewel of the Test Center is the 7-kilometer-long oval track that circles the area.
“All our test centers are investments in innovation, and the expansion of testing activities is a big and important leap for us. 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 Spain Test Center, combined with our Ivalo winter Test Center in Lapland, takes our overall testing capability to the highest possible level,” said Olli Seppälä, Nokian Tires Head of R&D.
The Test Center enables the company to speed up the product development cycles and to strengthen its position as a manufacturer of premium tires.
“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 when considering the products developed for the Central European market as well as for the North American market,” Seppälä said.
The new test center already has a nickname: Hakka Ring. In an internal name competition, Nokian Tires employees suggested around 150 different nicknames for the new test center. Hakka Ring was the winner as Hakka and Hakkapeliitta are well-known product brands crafted by Nokian Tires, and as the most famous tracks in the world are called “Ring.”
Construction work at the test center began in 2018. Due to COVID-19, construction work was halted for a brief period but continued once the situation stabilized and necessary safety measures were taken. The project is an important part of Nokian Tires’ growth.
“Similar test centers are rarely built in the world, and the world-class test conditions increase our credibility as a premium tire manufacturer,” said Jukka Kasi, Nokian Tires Senior Vice President of Products and Innovations.
Now all the different tracks have been finalized, a team is being gathered around the test center, and also the round building in the heart of the testing center, the Visitor Center, is ready for use.
“The entire project has required long-term concentration, as well as great passion, aspiration and professionalism to turn a dream into reality,” Kasi said as he praised the Nokian Tires team.