Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tech, GM To Create Tire Test Facility

Virginia Tech and General Motors will team up to create the the National Tire Research Center (NTRC), an advanced tire research and test facility in Southside Virginia.

The facility has a number of partners including Tech’s Transportation Institute, GM, Mechanical Engineering in Tech’s College of Engineering, the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research,the Southside Virginia community, and the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Relations Revitalization Commission.

Funding for the center will total $14 million with $5 million provided by GM, $5 million from the Tobacco Commission and $4 million from Virginia Tech. The NTRC will generate more than $12 million in testing and research expenditures within five years and create up to 183 new jobs in the local economy by 2020.

The NTRC will generate substantial new research and teaching opportunities for Virginia Tech faculty. The center will be located adjacent to Virginia International Raceway (VIR) in Halifax County, and will be used to supplement tire testing and development.

Says Virginia Tech President Charles Steger, “We believe that this national research center will enhance and expand areas of automotive research, and create tremendous economic activity in Southside Virginia. It will also develop new products that can save energy and improve the safety of motorists around the world."

Southside Virginia has an economy traditionally based in furniture and clothing manufacturing, tobacco farming and motorsports. Although the manufacturing and tobacco farming sectors have dramatically declined in recent years, motorsports and its associated automotive technologies have grown and there is opportunity for additional expansion.

The NTRC will be managed by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute under the direction of Tom Dingus, director of the institute with Virginia Tech’s Department of Mechanical Engineering leading the technical effort and IALR providing additional local support.

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