Toyota has completed work on a brand new test track and doesn’t need Germany for its Nürburgring Nordschleife test track anymore.
Everybody who’s anybody goes to the Nürburgring to test their cars. Every major car manufacturer has its own test track, and usually it’s not just one, but many. Toyota has several test tracks, but none of them reach the same kind of scale and grandeur as Germany’s Nürburgring.
Until now that is.
Just opened in the mountains between the Japanese cities of Toyota and Okazaki (yes, Toyota is a city in addition to one of the biggest carmakers in the world), the Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama has begun limited operations for what has been dubbed a “mini Nürburgring.”
The central section of what will become Toyota’s new research and testing facility began operating last week and features a 5.3 km (3.3 miles) test track that mimics the Nürburgring’s long and winding roads.
"Based on long experience of the Nürburgring Nordschleife, which is famous throughout the world for its grueling driving conditions, Toyota has designed an exacting test course that takes advantage of local topography and features a roughly 75-meter change in elevation between its highest and lowest points, as well as a wide range of curves and corners," wrote Toyota in their press release.
This is just the central section of the facility. The eastern section will be completed in 2023 and include a long, looped section of highway for high-speed vehicle testing. Both the central and eastern sections mimic a wide range of roads from around the world.
In total, the Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama will eventually cover 650.8 hectares, employ 3,300 people, and cost $2.7 billion USD. We’re not sure how much this will save Toyota from not having to pay rental fees at the Nordschleife, but we suspect it won’t recoup that $2.7 billion investment for some time.
But then again, Toyota is known for playing the long game.