The Nardò, Italy proving ground has a long and storied history of high-speed vehicle testing, and its biggest claim to fame is that the 7.8 mile long Nardo Ring oval track can be driven without steering input at speeds up to 149 mph.

The Nardò proving ground also contains a 3.9 mile handling course, as well as facilities to simulate various road surfaces and even changing weather conditions. As of May, the facility will be under the control of Porsche Engineering, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Porsche AG.

The company will use the facility for future vehicle development and testing, as well as making it available to client companies for the same purpose. Porsche Engineering will assume control of the proving grounds from Italian firm Prototipo SpA.

Of the acquisition, Porsche’s CEO Matthias Müller said, “The Nardò proving ground, with its high-speed and vehicle handling circuit, ideally complements our facilities in Weissach (Germany).”

Müller refers to the takeover as part of Porsche’s “Strategy 2018” business plan, and promised that the company would prove to be a reliable employer and a good business partner in Italy’s Apulia region, where the Nardò proving ground is located.

Nardò enjoys a milder climate than Weissach, meaning that testing can be conducted virtually year-round, under very similar conditions.