Smithers Rapra Inc. is expanding its winter testing center in Brimley, Mich., with an additional 130 acres of new track surfaces, plus a 5,304-square-foot conference center, cafeteria and two rental buildings.

The expansion is expected to be ready by mid-January 2018, the company says.

Smithers says the conference space will include a garage door to showcase vehicles, single- and multiple-room configurations and a private kitchen area for food preparation.

“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,” says Sean Connolly, general manager of the 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.”

Two new on-site rental buildings will feature furnished office space for clients, with a double bay garage and kitchen space.

The 130-acre track expansion will be made up of:

  • 38 acres for developing a large snow field, deep snow area and expanded ice area;
  • 13 acres for demonstrations, training and exclusive use for 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.

“Our Winter Test Center can fulfill just about any testing for snowy or icy surfaces. The new additions of space and facilities will give our clients a winter ‘whiteboard,’ where we can recreate almost any scenario they wish,” says Jim Popio, vice president of North America for Smithers Rapra. “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.”

The test center currently features more than 750 acres of snow, ice, and bare pavement surfaces. The expansion gives the facility more than 880 acres. The facility is staffed by more than 40 employees who create and maintain the variety of snow, ice and dry surfaces.

For more information about Smithers Rapra visit