SANTA CRUZ de la ZARZA, Spain — Nokian Tyres P.L.C. has begun to test tires at its new 740-acre test center in Santa Cruz de la Zarza, dubbed the "Hakka Ring" by employees.
Nokian reports that all 10 tracks in the facility are being used to test tires in extreme conditions, including the 4.3-mile oval track the tire maker considers the crown jewel of the facility. The track allows testing at speeds of up to 190 miles per hour.
The facility, which represents an investment of $73 million, will be used to test all-season and all-weather tires — many produced at Nokian's North American plant in Dayton, Tenn. — in all kinds of summer conditions.
"Hakka Ring" emerged as the winner of an internal name competition Nokian conducted with employees. Around 150 different nicknames for the new test center were suggested, and Hakka Ring was chosen as a tribute to Nokian's well-known product line, Hakkapeliitta, combined with the fact that several tracks around the world are called "ring."
Olli Seppälä, head of research and development for Nokian, said each test center represents an investment "in innovativeness, and the expansion of testing activities is a big and important leap for us. The versatile tracks and modern equipment of the Spain test center enable us to test tires on wet and dry, so that heavy rain or intense heat will not bring any surprises."