The National Automotive Test Tracks (NATRAX) facility in Pithampur, Indore, is likely to allow supercar owners in the country to have a taste of high-speed driving, albeit in an extremely safe environment.
- NATRAX set-up to facilitate vehicle testing for auto industry
- Access to NATRAX could be given to even supercar owners
- Supercars can achieve speeds of over 300kph at NATRAX
NATRAX likely to open doors for supercar owners
Inaugurated on June 29, 2021, the state-of-the-art automotive proving grounds, which includes an 11.3km-long main High Speed Track (HST) along with 13 peripheral tracks such as noise absorption, handling and brake-testing tracks, was essentially commissioned to facilitate the automobile industry in its vehicle developmental and testing needs.
However, given the slowdown in the industry, and with many automakers like Maruti Suzuki and Mahindra having their in-house test tracks, there are chances that NATRAX might not be utilised to its full installed capacity. As a result, starting ‘non-conventional’ usage of the track is likely in order to recover the Rs 1,321 crore spent into this world-class infrastructure.
“We see a threat that the capacity might not be utilised completely of what was initially projected, so we are also thinking of getting automotive customers from Asian or European countries,” said Dr N Karuppaiah, additional director and centre head, NATRAX, in an exclusive interview with Autocar India.
“Furthermore, we are also thinking on the lines of starting non-conventional usage of the track, for instance, allowing supercar owners in the country to experience high-speed driving in a safe and controlled environment,” Dr Karuppaiah added.
Hitting 300kph on NATRAX’s High Speed Track
While the NATRAX authority is witnessing a lot of buzz and demand around allowing public on the track, it would go about it cautiously. “In case we feel the NATRAX capacity is only being 30-40 percent utilised, we could increase the safety protocols and authorise an agency which has marshals and charge them to conduct track days,” he explained.
While track days could be on the anvil, safety would be the top priority and any sort of racing wouldn’t be allowed. “Owners of supercars can experience 0-300kph at the HST, and we can let them enjoy the sense of driving at extremely high speeds. However, we will not allow typical racing events at the track,” he cautioned.
“Having said that, we want to keep this only as Plan B and it would be clear within the next six months after assessing the demand situation in terms of conventional usage,” signed off the man-in-charge behind this truly world-class marvel.
Autocar’s 0-300kph run at NATRAX
Autocar India recently completed the first instrumented 0-300kph run in a controlled test environment at the NATRAX HST. Our testers achieved the feat in a 585hp Mercedes-AMG GT R supercar. Click here to see the full video of the 0-300kph run.
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