The 24-kilometre northern loop (Nordschleife) section of the Nurburgring racetrack in Nurburg, Germany has been the battleground for some epic motor races and is now also a place for anyone who dares to push their own vehicles to their limits. The track is feared by many for the numerous lives it has claimed of drivers who have attempted to tame it, and some spectators who came to witness them around this cathedral of speed. It has been nicknamed ‘The Green Hell’.
Its long high-speed corners, elevation changes and the sheer length of the track is the perfect recipe required for manufacturers to develop their cars. Any imperfections in the vehicle’s development will be made evident on this track. This is why many manufacturers develop their road cars by testing them to their limits at the Nurburgring for their roadworthiness, with Toyota being one of them.
Toyota Motor Corporation has now announced that they have created their own little race track in their back yard, which tries to emulate the essence of the fearsome German racetrack. Christened as the Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama, the facility is located at the heart of Toyota City in Aichi Prefecture, Japan and spans over 1,608 acres. The facility houses specialised test courses, high-speed test courses, vehicle development facilities, and a country road test course. The country road test course is a 5.3-kilometre track that is similar to the Nurburgring and has a 75-metre change in elevation. The track utilises the local topography and features a wide range of long, fast and even slow curves and corners. The manufacturer has commenced partial operation of the track with a team of 50 people, mostly test drivers. The manufacturer is yet to complete other parts of the Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama test facility like the specialised high-speed test coursed which are said to commence operations by 2023.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda stated, With the aim of making ever-better cars, we have continued to make various efforts in "feeling the road" and "conversing with cars" through driving tests around the world, including our Five Continent Drive Project and the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race. Based on such experiences, we have replicated a variety of roads in the world at the new test course. In addition to conducting driving tests all over the world, and with the replication of severe driving conditions at the new test course, we intend to thoroughly hone every one of our models and develop the types of cars that epitomize the true joy of driving. As connected, autonomous, shared, and electric (CASE) technologies promise to transform the very nature of mobility, Toyota will continue to make every effort to bring a smile to the faces of our customers, regardless of the form that cars take in the future."