Porsche’s Weissach development centre
Porsche cars have been developed, tested and built in Weissach since 1971. This site serves as a think tank that now employs over 7,000 staff.
Engineering flair and passion have gone hand in hand from the very start at the Weissach development centre. A place of ideas where customer requests become reality, it is also the source of every last Porsche from sports models through to racing cars.
However, this think tank for technical innovation, which is now protected by top-level security technology and employs over 7,000 staff, was set up in the early 1960s as part of a process that bordered on the romantic. During his search for a suitable test site, Ferry Porsche steadfastly refused to build on fertile land. This led Porsche mechanic and racing driver Herbert Linge to propose building on the outskirts of his home town of Weissach: ‘Nothing grows there except sloes.’ Linge’s reassuring words convinced Ferry, who got behind the controls of a bulldozer to perform his duties at the groundbreaking ceremony on 16 October 1961.
The first development on the site was the ‘skid pad’, a circular test track that provided comprehensive initial data with respect to the handling and lateral acceleration of the sports cars. The Porsche engineers were hungry for additional options, however, which led to two further test tracks known as the CanAm circuit and the mountain circuit being constructed around the original ‘skid pad’.
The initial buildings were completed in 1971, with 360 employees led by head of development Ferdinand Piëch moving to Weissach from Zuffenhausen. The three-storey Building 1 was the first to be constructed, featuring a foundry, hardening shop, forge, wood and model processing station, store and test benches. As of this point, the company was able to assume full control of the production and testing of all parts for prototypes and racing cars. The site was also equipped with a sled test bench that simulated initial crash tests such as rear-impact and head-on collisions.
The Weissach development centre has experienced rapid growth over the decades and now unites a variety of facilities including a design studio, conceptual design department, wind tunnel, test benches and the Porsche Motorsport Centre in Flacht. This ensures almost maximum interplay between series development and racing, meaning that all cars developed today are infused with the experience and efficiency of almost 70 years of motor sport and over 30,000 race wins.