Nissan Motor is to build an 8.1-kilometre (about five mile) high-speed circuit at its Hokkaido Proving Ground in Rikubetsu, Hokkaido. The addition of the new high-speed circuit will create Nissan’s longest test-track facility in the world.

The new circuit, which is modelled after a normal expressway consisting of continuous variable slopes and curves, will be completed in August 2006. It will enable the carmaker to conduct comprehensive product testing, ranging from ordinary road driving to ultra high-speed driving.

The circuit will also be used to conduct research on driving behavior, driver support systems and ITS (intelligent transport systems) technology.

The Hokkaido proving ground opened in 1991 and already has a 7.2-km track that emulates driving conditions on suburban roads and circuit courses in Europe. Combined with the new high-speed circuit, the proving ground will total approximately 16 km.

Nissan’s two other proving grounds in Japan are located on the main island of Honshu. The Tochigi Proving Ground is 6.5 km long, while the Oppama Proving Ground in Kanagawa Prefecture is 2.4 km long. Nissan’s Arizona Testing Centre in the US, its only overseas proving ground, is 9.2 km long.

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Rikubetsu in Hokkaido, Japan’s northern most island, is the coldest municipality in Japan. In winter, temperatures drop to –15C, making it ideal for cold-weather vehicle testing.