Hyundai has shown off a new £4.7 million research and development facility being built at the Nürburgring.
Joining other manufacturers who have similar facilities on site, Hyundai will use the track to carry out durability testing on all new vehicles. Each new model will be put through 180,000km of road testing — 10,000km of which will be done on the Nürburgring. That's the equivalent of 480 laps.
The track, with its 73 corners and average altitude difference of 300 metres, provides the perfect stomping ground for testing new vehicles.
Vehicle testing and development manager Axel Honish says the Nürburgring can replicate almost every condition found on European roads. "It's the ideal track; it covers all possible driving situations.
"It has the characteristics that will give an experienced driver a feel for the performance. The driver can then report where we need to change something, like the balance for example."
As other manufacturers do similarly, Hyundai keeps a fleet of its competitors' cars on hand to benchmark its own vehicles. A team of six professional drivers carry out testing on the track, with data then fed though the new research and development site and on to Korea.
Senior vice president and chief operating officer Allan Rushforth says the project aims to enhance the appeal of Hyundai to European drivers. Over 70 per cent of the Hyundai model range available in Europe is built here, with 95 per cent being developed and tested here, too.
Rather than focusing on new models, Rushforth says 2013 is all about increasing brand awareness. "We will increase awareness subliminally," he said. "I'm happy for the ride and handling characteristics of the cars to be evidence of the development that goes on here.