The Nardò Ring, a Curved Geoglyph in the Italian Landscape

Nardò Ring
Nardò, Italia
40° 19′ 38″ N, 17° 49′ 34″ E

The Nardò Ring is a circular track dedicated to speed tests. Built by Fiat in 1975, the 12km inclined ring allows high-speed tests up to 400km/h.

A circle to reach the line

The Nardò circuit was founded by the Fiat group on July 1, 1975 under the name Società autopista Sperimentale Nardò and built about twenty kilometers northwest of the Italian town of Nardò. Its specific feature, is its perfectly circular design, with a 12.6 km circumference, and its banking lanes. This characteristic allows a pilot driving at 240 km/h to reach the neutral speed, meaning he doesn’t have to turn the steering wheel to maintain his trajectory, reproducing the illusion of an infinite straight line. Beyond this “neutral speed”, the steering wheel must be turned at a defined angle. As the ring consists of 4 lanes, forming a width of 16m, each of these lanes has a different inclination ranging from 4% to 22.5%, and therefore a different neutral speed (100, 140, 190 and 240km/h). Offset from this ring, a 9m wide circular track is dedicated to truck testing only.

The ring of records

The circular physiognomy is dedicated to testing and also allows to challenge speed and endurance records. In 1979 the Italian 400km/h record was broken by the Mercedes-Benz C111-IV, which completed the lap in 1 minute and 57 seconds. In 2002 a Volkswagen W12 broke the world record for the average speed over 24 hours, covering a distance of 7740.576 km at an average speed of 322.891 km / h.
Inside the Nardò Ring, the core hosts another circuit allowing numerous tests, such as testing tire reliability or thermal mapping. Numerous infrastructures and workshops are also installed there. But more surprisingly, the landscape continuity is maintained, a large part is dedicated to crops and farms are also built there. The agricultural network is in continuation with the outside of the ring and the road axes were maintained within the core.

This 4km diameter circle forms a unique geometric monumental structure. A kind of curved geoglyph, dug in positive in the landscape, perceptible only from the sky. Even though, this perimeter remains an unbroken line, forming a circle, the nucleus is kind of free from any landscape break that could have given it the appearance of an asphalt oasis.

Nardò Ring
Nardò Ring
Nardò Ring
Source: Nardo Technical Center

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