The Lingotto Building was the former FIAT Factory and still features the well maintained rooftop test track in Italy
We’ve all come across photos of the race track built on the roof of the Lingotto building. But what was the real reason or purpose for the rooftop test track? Why was the track on the roof of the factory?
Car maker Fiat constructed that building. Construction began in 1916. However, it wasn’t fully completed until 1923 at opening day. It was a massive project today but even more for the 1920’s. It was the largest car factory in the world when it opened.
The Fiat Factory was built in a very unique way compared to other assembly lines. This assembly line went vertical, through all 5 floors of the building. The cars would start inside the building and work their way up through the floors. Before exiting the building and entering the Fiat showrooms all over the world they needed to be tested. The completed cars would exit the final assemby line stage, drive out a door to the roof for a lap around the 1 km long rooftop test track.
1 millions Fiat cars drove from the building. The production spanned across 80 models of the Fiat brand.
In the 1970’s the Fiat Lingotto Building had become outdated. The Lingotto building today features a beautiful modern set of storefronts after it’s conversion in 1983. It also featured Olympic Speed Skating in 2006.
The original Lingotto rooftop test track was featured The Italian Job. A film that came out in 1969. The Fiat race track is featured in a getaway sequence in the film. That entire Lingotto test track scene can be viewed in the video from the movie below.
The building has been modernized to fit today’s architectural design standards. However, the Fiat test track remains on the roof in well maintain condition after nearly 100 years of weathering. One side of the Fiat race track on the roof has been filled with tar, presumably to prevent leakage through the ceiling. However, the other side still displays the original bricks used to form the rooftop test track.
The rooftop of the Lingotto Fiere is still open to tourists. You’ll occasionally come across a photo of a car on the roof but few are turning laps. Red Bull actually sponsored Lambrettas on the Lingotto in 2011. It was a scooter race that featured a section of the race track on the roof.
After several mergers the new Fiat factory is part of the FCA Group better known as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. They now have a new Torino, Italy factory which is located just a few blocks from the old Lingotto Factory Building. The new building also has a test track, the track is built in a very similar fashion to the orginal rooftop track. One minor exception, this one is one the ground. It’s far less exciting.
Fiat Rooftop Test Track Historic Photos
Lingotto Test Track Today Photos
The Italian Job (1969) Scene Featuring the Lingotto Test Track
Author: Shane Walters