Smithers Rapra breaks ground on new event center, rental buildings, and track expansion at Winter Test Center

Construction is underway on a new event center, cafeteria, two new rental buildings, and 130 acres of new track surfaces at Smithers Rapra’s Winter Test Center in Brimley, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Construction is underway on a number of exciting expansions to Smithers Rapra’s Winter Test Center in Brimley, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The Center is planning to unveil its new event center and cafeteria, two newer rental buildings, and 130 acres of new track surfaces in time for the 2018 testing season, which will kick off in January.

The new 5,304 square-foot multi-purpose event space includes a garage door for showcasing vehicles, a large open area that can host up to 115 people, potential for multiple room configurations, a small group meeting room for 12-14 people, and a private kitchen area, which will provide a daily food service plus options for catered client events.Clients can also rent one of two new on-site buildings that come with furnished office space, a double bay garage, a kitchen area, and wireless internet.

The new track expansion includes:

  • 38 acres for developing a large snow field, deep snow area, and expanded ice area.
  • 13 acres dedicated to demonstrations, training, and exclusive use tied to the new conference building.
  • 30 acres for an exclusive track with a testing partner on site.
  • 49 acres available to other testing partners to expand.

“Having a space to showcase new vehicle technology and hold driving events, as well as supporting on-site staff with a cafeteria, was a critical need for our clients,” said Sean Connolly, General Manager, Smithers Winter Test Center. “The expansions at our winter proving grounds will address these needs, while providing additional track space for driving and training events, along with new testing areas. The new facility will also be a great asset to the local community for events and meetings.”

The Smithers Winter Test Center currently features over  750 acres of snow, ice, and bare pavement surfaces and is staffed by over 40 employees who create and maintain a variety of snow, ice, and dry area surfaces. It is ideal for testing a variety of vehicle types, from small automobiles to Class 8 trucks, vehicle components, snow handling equipment, construction equipment, recreational sport vehicles, and military equipment.

“Automotive components need to meet the challenges of real world conditions, and winter driving can be some of the most challenging terrain for development engineers to consider in their development efforts,” said Jim Popio, Vice President, North America, Smithers Rapra. “The additions at our Winter Test Center will give our clients a winter ‘whiteboard,’ where we can recreate almost any scenario they wish.”