32° C, glistening sunlight, the air above the asphalt is scintillating. The deafening sound of a screaming engine cuts through the quiet morning. A Porsche shoots past on the track. Faster than hardly any other vehicle can. In the inside of the circuit of the Nardò Technical Centre, on the dynamic surface, a Fendt 720 Vario makes it rounds, comparatively slowly. The special white paint job has a precious gleam in the sunshine. The Fendt is the latest purchase of the Nardò Technical Centre.
The world-renowned testing track lies in the vicinity of the city of Nardò in Southern Italy. This region of Apulia is mostly even and therefore perfectly suited for a high-speed track. With only a few rainy days and hardly any frost, vehicles can be tested 365 days a year in Nardò. The banked curve compensates for centrifugal forces so that speeds of up to 240 km/h are permitted, even 500 km/h would be possible. The Nardò Technical Centre is considered to be one of the fastest test tracks in the world. The identifying feature of the centre is the 12.6-km long circular test track with a 4-km diameter. It was built in 1975 by Fiat with the aid of public funding to subsidise the economically weak region. Today Porsche Engineering is responsible for the Nardò technical Centre, which is open to all automobile manufacturers for testing their vehicles.
In addition to the round track, the 700 hectare area also has different sections, for example, there are gravel and off-road stretches. Manufacturers can test their vehicles on sections with different road surfaces. Since January 2014, the white Fendt 720 Vario has been in service for the facilities. The Fendt tractor is used for the maintenance and repair of the grounds. Primarily preventative measures are performed to protect the testing grounds.
For example, the machine assists the fire brigade in combating forest fires. “We combated a forest fire, which covered 20 hectares, here a few months ago with the help of the Fendt,” relates Edmund Sander, engineer and General Director of the Nardò Technical Centre. “We chose a tractor in this high-performance class especially for transporting the huge water tank.” The fire brigade only has enough water for four minutes. After that it must rely on the 25 t water tank that is towed by the Fendt.
Forest fires are not rare in Southern Italy. Heat and drought make it easy for fires to break out. The Mediterranean vegetation of evergreen bushes and shrubs is flammable. While test vehicles and prototypes race by, the local farmers cultivate the areas within the circular track. Offside of the tracks, the farmers cultivate vegetables. To get to their fields, the farmers go through a number of underpasses to access the grounds in the middle of a nature preserve.
The track maintenance is also maintained with the assistance of the new tractor. Tyre residues are removed regularly from the test track. The Fendt pulls a high-pressure cleaner over the asphalt, which removes even the smallest bit of tyre residue. “Thanks to the Vario transmission and the cruise control, the Fendt is exactly the right vehicle for working with a high-pressure cleaner,” says Sander. “After all, the specialty machine requires a precisely adjusted speed to clean the test track.” This maintenance measure is very important for general safety at the high speeds that are driven on this test track. “After thorough and detailed comparisons and tests, we decided in favour of the German company,” explains the General Manager. “Cutting edge technologies and bundled competence in power transmission and hydraulics guarantee versatile operations and a long lifetime for the tractor.” Edmund Sander thinks the 720 Vario is clearly the all-rounder amongst tractors. The machine is an excellent addition to the fleet at the Nardò Technical Centre.