Toyota are building a pint-sized 'mini Nürburgring' in Japan
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I'm sort of surprised this move wasn't made sooner...
Each year the world's car manufacturers deploy their disguised prototype performance cars and various teams of engineers to Germany's most famous racing circuit; the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
The 'Green Hell' is classed as 'the' place to tune a modern-day car. This manifests itself most obviously in a performance vein; car companies taking the times that their cars can set on the tricky and long circuit and bench-marking them against their existing rivals. Other manufacturers also send cars there for testing of fuel consumption, and other more 'real world' research.
The expense of all this stuff must be quite significant. Manufacturers normally build the price of research and development into the price of the final product, but ultimately anything that can make the process cheaper can make a big difference — and in this admittedly quite specific thought the idea of building a replica of the Nürburgring in Japan seems ... almost rational.
That's exactly what Toyota has done, according to a report in the Nikkei Asian Review. The track forms part of a new research and development center in Aichi prefecture, which will include a staggering 11 race tracks.
The Nürburgring replica won't actually be a precise replica — rather, it will reportedly feature most of the iconic track's most famed and most challenging bends. At 5.3-kilometers long, it's approximately a quarter of the length of the real thing ... A shortened Nürburgring that's relatively close to New Zealand ... might be time to book some flights?
The news ties in with Toyota's new drive to be a 'less boring' manufacturer. These have been punctuated in the recent past by the unveiling of the wildest Camry yet, the frankly bonkers C-HR crossover, rumours of the Celica nameplate being brought back, and of course news of a new 'Supra' sports car after a 16-year hiatus.
A focus on race tracks at their test facilities can only mean good things for what customers drive off the showroom floor.