Test track: what goes on at Weissach?

Weissach is the famed home of Porsche Motorsport but, while it has an enviable history of turning out Le Mans winners, the site just over 11 miles west of Zuffenhausen plays just as much of a role in Porsche’s road success.

At the heart of the Weissach Development Centre (EZW) is the test site, the venue used for dynamic tests of all new Porsches, from prototypes to production models.

“An essential element in the efficient development so typical of Porsche is the ability to conduct test runs with ease in the proximity of the offices and workshops,” explains Eric Preising, Specialist for Chassis Test Rigs – Development Test Area.

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Construction of the test site began in 1961, with the skid pan put into service the following year. In 1967 an off-road was also built before 1971 brought about perhaps the most famous Weissach landmark.

The fast ‘Can-Am’ test track was built around the skid pan, allowing Porsche to test its new racing cars, something it continues to do to this day: the 919 Hybrid getting its initial shakedown test at Weissach.

Since the Seventies, the track has had to undergo some major safety revisions to cope with the ever-faster speeds of Porsche’s road and race cars. Gone are the safety fences and in their place sit six-pack, rigid-foam tyre system with high-strength strapping.

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A mountain circuit was also constructed around the same time, providing plenty of tighter turns and inclines on which to test new designs. Combined with the other facilities, Weissach is a true one-stop shop for dynamic development.

“We can complete fast laps with a Le Mans vehicle as well as drive through a fording basin with a Cayenne and then climb straight up a hill with a 100 per cent gradient,” explains Preising. “There’s hardly any other test site in the world that offers so many different development trials on such a compact area.”

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