Thursday, 20 September 2012

Opel invests 28.5 million euros in extension of Test Center

  • Engineering vice president, Mike Ableson opens new high-speed circuit
  • Investments secure Opel Test Center’s worldwide leadership

Dr. Matthias Schollmaier, head of Dudenhofen test center, Opel Vice President Engineering, Michael F. Ableson, Permanent Under Secretary of Economic Affairs, Steffen Saebisch and mayor of town of Rodgau, Jürgen Hoffmann.
Opel today opened the completely renewed high-speed circuit at its Dudenhofen Test Center. The modernization of the test track is part of an investment totaling 28.5 million euros. At ten million euros the renewal of the high-speed circuit, the centerpiece of the Opel Test Center, and the installation of world class test and sensor technologies, represent the single largest investment.

“The opening of the high-speed circuit is a milestone for our Test Center”, said Mike Ableson, Opel vice president of Engineering, during the opening ceremony. “This is a clear sign of our commitment to the long term future of our development facilities in Germany. The extensions are a significant contribution to further increasing the quality of our products, and bringing affordable innovations to our customers fast”.

2003 Opel Eco Speedster
In a symbolic lap of the high-speed circuit with Steffen Saebisch, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Economy, Transport and Development in the state of Hesse, Ableson handed over the operation of one of the most versatile and modern test tracks in the world to the engineers and technicians in Dudenhofen. The parade lap of the high-speed circuit was led by the world record breaking Eco Speedster, which set 17 international records at Dudenhofen in 2003, and an Opel Rekord from 1966, the year the test center was opened.

1966 Opel Rekord driven by the soccer coach legend Sepp Herberger and the Opel Panorama bus took part in the first lap on the track under sunny sky.
In his speech Secretary of State Saebisch stated: “It is up to the car companies themselves to secure the industry’s ability to innovate and compete. Opel and GM have accepted the challenge. With their investments in the extension of the Dudenhofen Test Center they have made a clear commitment to the future. It is the duty of politics to create the framework businesses need to overcome their challenges. This is why education, the reduction of bureaucracy, and the promotion of innovation are central themes for the Hesse government. Hesse needs a strong and dynamic industry to secure its prosperity, also in the future.”

The investments will enable the test center to replicate nearly every driving profile imaginable. Mike Ableson: “We are cementing Dudenhofen’s reputation as one of the leading proving grounds in the world, and we are extending its business opportunities for development, component testing and brand communication. Our numerous long-standing external clients, including many development partners, will also benefit.

Opening lap of the new track: The record breaking Opel Eco Speedster and the original 1966 Opel Rekord that belonged to the soccer coach legend Sepp Herberger which was also the year the proving grounds first opened.

Vehicle testing at highest safety levels

The management of test programs at the Opel Test Center has always met the highest demands for quality, precision and safety. New sensors in the surface of the high-speed circuit, and the full electrification of the control and measurement technology will take these standards to an even higher level in future.
In the interest of customers, it is highly important that prototypes of future models are tested down to the last nut and bolt. That means driving the test cars at their limit under strictly controlled conditions. Thanks to the increase in the angle of the banking from 37.5 degrees to 40 degrees cars can now drive safely at  250 kilometers per hour on the high speed circuit, without lateral forces.

Work on the additional extensions has already begun. During the remainder of 2012 Opel will build new tracks for testing pass by noise and calibrating new engines.

Additional highlights include an all-new traffic control system for the whole proving ground; new tracks for testing transmissions and driving dynamics at Formula 1 levels; and the near identical copy of a public street, including a city driving route.

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