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Holden's Lang Lang Proving Ground Passes 50 Year Milestone



16th September, 2007

Holden's Lang Lang Proving Ground Passes 50 Year Milestone

GM Holden's proving ground at Lang Lang marked its 50th anniversary last weekend with a celebration day for current and former employees.

GM Holden's Executive Director of Engineering Tony Hyde said, "Lang Lang has played a key role in the development and success of GM Holden since its earliest days."

"Having a world class testing facility has been integral in enabling Holden to develop generations of vehicles able to withstand the uniquely challenging Australian driving conditions."

Located 95 kilometres south east of Melbourne, the 877 hectare site was Australia's first automotive testing and development complex and has been the testing ground for every Holden from the FC to the recently announced VE Ute.

Behind the security fencing, more than 4.5 million kilometres are said to be driven under test each year where prototype, pre-production and current production vehicles are tested on a variety of sealed and unsealed surfaces designed to replicate real world conditions.

The 44 kms of road systems are designed for specific and general durability testing as well as performance and high speed testing. This includes a banked 4.7 km high speed track, a twist course, a noise road for noise and vibration development, a rattle and squeak track, tests hills and a skid pan.

The proving ground also houses a safety test laboratory which is home to an extended family of state-of-the-art fully instrumented test dummies and has an airbag test and development capability.

A range of collision types can be reproduced at Lang Lang's full compliance SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) barrier facility where cars are winched towards a 76 tonne concrete barrier at speeds of up to 90 km per hour.

The proving ground's emissions laboratory is capable of conducting a wide range of exhaust emission tests for certifying vehicles to Australian and international regulatory requirements.

Purchased by GM Holden in 1956, Lang Lang commenced operations in 1957 and is the lead test facility for General Motors in the Asia Pacific region.

Holden's Lang Lang Proving Ground Passes 50 Year Milestone

Sixty-nine-year-old Allan George, who worked at Lang Lang for 43 years, recalls the early days when the proving ground had a staff of only 38, as compared to today's team of over 270.

"In the early days the roads were fairly basic and we had a very small team. We had no heaters and no radios in the cars and we came to work in overcoats and scarves to work as nightshift drivers.

"The place where I started was in the mechanical age whereas today the work is much more technical."

Allan saw the facility develop from a local to international facility, with testing now undertaken at Lang Lang for other parts of General Motors.

"Being in a different hemisphere we were able to do hot tests here while they were doing cold in other parts of the world which helped shorten the test times."

"With 50 years of history and experience under its belt, the Lang Lang proving ground has really come of age," said Allan.

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