Vauxhall invests €28.5m in test centre expansion


On 20 September 2012, Opel opened the completely renewed high-speed circuit at its Dudenhofen Test Centre in Germany. At ten million euros, the renewal of the high-speed circuit – the centrepiece of the Opel Test Centre – and the installation of world-class test and sensor technologies represent the single largest investment of a modernisation totalling 28.5 million euros.


“The opening of the high-speed circuit is a milestone for our test centre”, said Mike Ableson, Opel/Vauxhall Vice President of Engineering. “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”.


During 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 centre was opened.


The investments will enable the test centre to replicate nearly every driving profile imaginable. Mike Ableson explained, “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.”

Vehicle testing at highest safety levels

The management of test programmes at the Opel Test Centre 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.


It’s 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 kilometres per hour on the high-speed circuit, without lateral forces.


During the remainder of 2012 Opel will build new tracks for testing pass-by noise and calibrating new engines. Other enhancements 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.