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Date 05/19/2014 Hits77,196

Category Motorsports

Hankook keeps focus on maximum performance and safety

At the DTM season-opener a fortnight ago, visitors to the Hockenheimring were treated to top class, gripping motor racing. Almost all drivers explored the limits of the regulations and covered the maximum allowed 50 percent of the race distance on Hankook’s ultrafast Ventus Race Plus option tyres. The tactics they used differed: Right from the start, winner Marco Wittmann (BMW) went out on the soft tyre, promptly extended his lead and defended it in the second half of the race on the Ventus Race baseline slick. Audi pilot Mattias Ekström on the other hand opted for option rubber in the second stage and put in a spirited charge from fifth on the grid to finish in second. But heading to round two of the DTM in Oschersleben, the cards have been completely reshuffled. In the Motorsport Arena, the option tyres could “drop off” earlier than at Hockenheim due to the many turns.
Oschersleben/Germany, 15 May 2014 – The 3.696 kilometre race track at Oschersleben is regarded as one of the slower circuits on the DTM calendar. The many long-radius curves, some up to 180 degrees, pose a challenge to the construction of the Hankook race tyres. “The high kerbs and bumpy surface, particularly in the braking zone, are very demanding on the tyre construction. Moreover, there are hardly any long straights for the tyres to recover, which means the wear of the soft option tyre is likely to be somewhat higher than at Hockenheim,” explains Hankook’s race engineer, Christophe Stucki.
In Oschersleben, newly introduced performance weights will be used for the first time this season. Hockenheim winner Marco Wittmann (BMW) and his top-ten-placed brand colleagues are required to add five kilograms of extra weight, with the other BMW drivers carrying an additional 2.5 kg. And while everything remains the same at Audi, the Mercedes-Benz pilots will contest the race carrying five kilograms less. Christophe Stucki said: “Weight is always the enemy in racing. And now the heavier BMWs have to brake a little earlier than their rivals on Sunday in the Motorsport Arena, and they can accelerate later. When you consider this over the entire race distance, it can also affect tyre performance.”
For this reason, the race engineer is hesitant to make any predictions. On the contrary: “Following the guidelines of the ITR, and in cooperation with the car manufacturers, Hankook has developed race tyres that must perform on all DTM circuits under the most diverse conditions. The performance depends on many factors that vary for each circuit, for instance the condition of the asphalt, the track layout, or the temperature. The teams constantly change the vehicle set-up and work with different air pressures. All of these parameters have an influence on each other, so much so that you can never make general statements about the tyres during the season. And ultimately, the pilots sitting in the cockpits all have very different driving styles,” said Christophe Stucki.
For the soft option tyre, premium manufacturer Hankook guarantees a lifespan of 30 to 60 kilometres on every track. “What the teams can or want to do over and above this is their responsibility. I don’t expect that the Ventus Race Plus can deliver fast laps on all circuits over the regulation-mandated maximum allowed 50 percent of the distance, because tyre wear is simply higher on some circuits,” explains Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook’s Motorsport Director in Europe. In his opinion, it would be inefficient to construct a tyre that drops off significantly after just a few laps. “Basically, option tyres only make sense if they provide an advantage – calculated over one stage of the race – that is, they are faster with a pit stop included than the baseline version without a pit stop.”
As the exclusive partner to the DTM, Hankook’s task is to supply all manufacturers with racing tyres of consistently high quality. Manfred Sandbichler: “Our company philosophy is to supply our customers with race tyres of maximum performance and safety levels at all times. The competitors can push the limits on the race track knowing that they can trust our tyres. That has always been priority number one at Hankook.” 


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