Year-round winter tyre tests soon possible at Ivalo
The automotive and tyre industries will soon be able to conduct winter tyre tests at the Ivalo test centre in Finland all year round. This new development has nothing to do with climate change; in May Test World Oy began work on an indoor facility; this hall, which resembles those used for indoor skiing, is expected to be completed in November and ready for use by the end of the year.
The facility’s opening will complete the first phase of a project that, according to Test World managing director Harri Eskelinen, the Finnish test centre has worked on for a number of years. The 160 metre long, 15 metre wide hall offers space for vehicle testing plus room for all necessary accompanying infrastructure (such as workshop, vehicle parking area and offices), and frees Test World Oy from the restriction of only being able to test between November and March, or sometimes April if conditions allow. Even though Ivalo is located almost 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, its summer is sufficiently mild to rule out the option of outdoor winter testing outside this time of the year.
“Aside from this, outdoor winter tyre tests are only possible during the months of July and August in New Zealand,” commented Eskelinen as explanation of why Test World decided to offer the automotive industry the option of indoor winter testing. He described testing in New Zealand as a “logistical nightmare.” The question of whether indoor testing delivers the same results as those conducted outside was settled before the new hall was built; Test World conducted tests within a ski hall and compared the results with those gained through traditional winter tyre testing.
As mentioned above, the hall’s opening only represents the completion of the first phase of a project. Next year a second hall will be built onto the first; this will offer a year-round handling track. These buildings will be further added to in the coming years, and ‘Test World Indoor’ is expected to be fully complete in 2014 or 2015.