Engineers in the Arctic Circle

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It’s seven in the morning in a location near the Arctic Circle. Gonzalo Giménez, the head of Brakes and Active Safety Systems at SEAT, checks the weather forecast in the hopes that the day will be sunny at least as the outside temperature stands at 25 degrees below freezing.

These engineers carry out up to 60 different tests in the time they spend in Lapland.This time, the first test of the day consists in deactivating the ESC stability control system by varying degrees, and even completely. If the vehicle goes off course, they make sure the system stabilises the wheels so it can get back on track.

Ahead is a 200-metre long track that is half asphalt and half ice for testing high and low grip, a critical and common situation on the roads in Nordic countries. Gonzalo drives back and forth several times, braking on both surfaces simultaneously. This is how SEAT´s engineers refine the ABS system, which helps the driver control the car’s stability.

The capacity to adapt

He began working in SEAT’s Zona Franca facilities in 1992 as soon as he finished his studies. “When I transferred to the Technical Centre, then located in Martorell, I had the chance to work in various departments, but I chose Chassis Experimentation. This job requires that you be passionate about cars, willing to travel all the time and know how to adapt to any circumstance”, admits Gonzalo.

Performing tests all over the globe

Testing starts all over again in the summer, when the Technical Centre engineers travel to a desert region for three weeks. They visit all five continents throughout the year to test prototypes in all sorts of weather conditions and on all types of surfaces. As a result, motorists can count on safely being able to drive on any road and in all kinds of situations.

The key to working at -25 degrees is his passion for cars and travelling, and knowing how to adapt to any circumstance.

“The way technology has evolved. It has made a difference in both the efficiency of the vehicle’s systems as in the work tools that are available to us, which are increasingly powerful and fast.” - Adam Gonzalo