Catesby Tunnel testing facility in Northamptonshire is set to provide a worldwide benchmark for aerodynamic testing and vehicle development when it opens later this year.
It houses a 2.7km long, purpose-built, straight road test track allowing an extensive range of vehicle assessment studies to be carried out on full scale vehicles. Capable of providing accurate and affordable full scale aerodynamic and performance data, the tunnel is being developed by Brackley-based Aero Research Partners.
Setting a New Standard for Vehicle Testing
It is set to become the new standard for vehicle development and the testing of aerodynamic performance, cooling, aeroacoustics, emission and dirt deposition. The sealed, underground working section ensures there is no wind and minimal temperature changes and therefore provides a controlled environment for assured repeatable testing. The ultra-smooth tarmac surface will be incredibly flat due to the stringent specifications.
The new facility is a re-development of a disused railway tunnel which was once part of the Great Central Railway. Built as a double width tunnel and one of the longest disused tunnels of the Victorian Era, Catesby Tunnel’s long straight and constant gradient provides ideal testing conditions.
The disused railway tunnel is currently undergoing a multi-million pound transformation into a state-of-the-art vehicle testing facility. Development began in December 2017 and the tunnel is currently in the final phase of construction, with a 400-metre road surface already laid out and initial testing completed. The remaining sections will be completed in the coming months ready for opening in Summer 2021.
Located at the Heart of the UK Automotive Industry
Located in the Northamptonshire countryside, Catesby Tunnel is situated at the heart of the UK automotive and motorsport industry. The facility is also supported by the Catesby Innovation Centre, designed to bring together local high-tech companies.
All facilities are entirely enclosed to ensure that vehicle development programmes remain completely confidential. Enclosed working spaces have a shutter opening to the tunnel to ensure complete privacy while the main building adjoining the tunnel will house two full size articulated lorries to unload vehicles directly into the preparation area.
“We are all very excited to be opening the doors to Catesby Tunnel later this year,” said Rob Lewis, Director at Aero Research Partners. “The tunnel’s infrastructure lends itself perfectly to providing an unrivalled vehicle testing facility where real cars can be tested on a real road in consistent conditions. It has been a huge collaborative effort and we hope to welcome customers from the UK, Europe and worldwide to take advantage of our unique facility.”
Bookings will be accepted from Spring 2021, ahead of the facility opening in Summer. If you would like the opportunity to visit the tunnel to see what the facility has to offer, please use the Contact Us form on our website.