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Coat of arms of Ehra-Lessien
Coat of arms
Ehra-Lessien   is located in Germany
Coordinates: 52°35′49″N 10°47′46″E / 52.59694°N 10.79611°E / 52.59694; 10.79611Coordinates: 52°35′49″N 10°47′46″E / 52.59694°N 10.79611°E / 52.59694; 10.79611
Country Germany
State Lower Saxony
District Gifhorn
Municipal assoc. Brome
 • Mayor Jenny Reissig (SPD)
 • Total 56.08 km2 (21.65 sq mi)
Elevation 63 m (207 ft)
Population (2015-12-31)[1]
 • Total 2,291
 • Density 41/km2 (110/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 38468
Dialling codes 05377
Vehicle registration GF

Ehra-Lessien is a municipality in the district of Gifhorn, in Lower Saxony, Germany.

Volkswagen Group test track[edit]

Volkswagen Group owns a test track facility in Ehra-Lessien. The facility was built during the Cold War, the location was chosen since at the time, it was in a no-fly zone near the East German border, thus secret prototypes could be tested out of sight of potential rivals.

The track is currently used by all Volkswagen Group subsidiaries and marques, such as Audi, Lamborghini, Bentley, Bugatti, SEAT, Škoda, and Porsche.

The facility features 96 km (60 miles) of private tarmac, which includes a large variety of road surfaces and curves, used as test tracks to evaluate new and prototype vehicles. More significantly, there is a high speed circuit with a straight approximately 8.7 km (5.4 mi) long. Although the straight portion of the track is perfectly flat and level for the entire length, when standing at one end of the straight you cannot see the far end due to the curvature of the Earth.[2] Including banked corners at both ends of the circuit, allowing for a high entry and exit speed to and from the straight, and to increase average speed during the 20 km (12 mi) lap, the straight is especially useful for determining vehicle top speed, and is one of the few places on earth that the Bugatti Veyron or the McLaren F1 can reach their top speed.

Notably, the top speed of the Bugatti Veyron and the McLaren F1 were recorded along this straight; in episode 2 of Season 9, aired on 4 February 2007 on BBC Two's Top Gear, presenter James May reached 407.5 km/h (253.2 mph) in a Bugatti Veyron.[2] In July 2010 a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport with 1,200 bhp (890 kW), reached 417.9 km/h (259.7 mph) while driven by James May, back at Ehra-Lessen again. However shortly after this, while being driven by Bugatti test driver Pierre Henri Raphanel, the vehicle recorded the production car world speed record at an average of 431.072 km/h (267.856 mph) (Top Gear Episode 5, Season 15). The facility also appeared on National Geographic Channel's Man-Made, in episodes about the Bugatti Veyron and Chiron.