Vijay Pattni12 April 2012

Porsche buys Nardo test track

Germans snap up legendary Italian test track that’s visible from space. SPACE!

Nardo test track

According to Top Gear's collective knowledge base, there are only three things visible from space*. The first is Eddie Jordan's shirt collection, the second is Stig's gigantic pile of Pokemon trading cards (Snorlax only), and the third is the Nardo test track.

Now, TopGear.com has learned that the Porsche Engineering Group - a wholly owned subsidiary of Porsche AG - has snapped up the legendary test track, situated in the province of Lecce that rests comfortably in the ‘heel' of Italy.

This is very good news for future Porsches.

It's quite a place, too, as Top Gear very well understands. After all, the 700 hectare site with a 12.5km long oval circuit was the home of our series 18 opener, when the chaps took the Lamborghini Aventador, Noble M600 and McLaren Fax-Machine to the highest speeds they dared.

And who can forget the record-breaking run Martin Brundle recorded in a Jaguar XJ220 in 1992? Not us, especially considering the ol' girl recently turned 20, reminding us of its 217.1mph speed record. Koenigsegg's CCR hit a record run at the test track, while the McLaren F1 scored 231 points on the Nardo numbers game. That's right, 231mph.

Aston took the gloriously V12-engined One-77 for a shakedown high speed run (a car we caught up with closer to home) there, but it's also - somewhat fittingly - the scene where we witnessed the future of the supercar, in the shape of the Porsche 918 Spider. We expect this car will be tested rather mercilessly, mind.

Top Gear rides shotgun in the Porsche 918 Spyder

"Thanks to the mild climate," says Porsche Engineering chief Malte Radmann, "the Nardo proving ground can be used throughout the year in three shifts around the clock, seven days a week."

Watch this space...

*This may be entirely inaccurate

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