APRILIA, Italy (June 30, 2004) — Bridgestone Europe N.V./S.A. has put into service the first phase of a two-phase, $45 million, 355-acre European Proving Ground at Aprilia.
Built in the low rolling hills south of Rome, the new proving ground features a 2.5-mile high-speed oval circuit, a 22.2-acre “black lake” wet handling area, a 2.5 -mile dry handling circuit and 11 noise and comfort tracks.
Phase 2 of the project, to be ready by spring 2006, will add straight and cornering hydroplaning test beds, five wet skid-pad circles, a 1.1-mile wet handling track and full testing facilities for truck, bus and agricultural tires, Bridgestone said.
The new proving ground has been designed for testing high-performance, touring and general use tires of the future and will complement Bridgestone's existing European Technical Centre at Castel Romano 19 miles to the north.
The facility at Castel Romano will continue as a center of materials research, tire design, prototype manufacturing and indoor testing. Outdoor testing will be moved progressively to the new facility, the company said.