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Hankook Race Tires Face a Tough Test at the Sandy Circuit in the Zandvoort Dunes
Brampton, ON, August 23, 2017 – Hankook Tire, the exclusive tire supplier to the DTM, hit the track over the weekend for the eleventh and twelfth races of the DTM season. The 4.3 kilometer Zandvoort circuit was a highlight of the DTM for drivers with a track that stretches through dunes, crests and over hills. Many of the fast corners were only visible at the last moment and the track was narrower than at other DTM circuits, meaning the drivers were frequently very close to the track limits. Drivers had to skillfully handle the abrasive, sharp and sand covered asphalt.
“The abrasive asphalt put a lot of strain on the tread of the race tires,” said Thomas Baltes, DTM Race Engineer, Hankook Tire. “The fact that the cars were constantly losing grip and skidding on the sandy surface caused the tire surface to heat up, however, these strains did not affect the performance of the race tire.”
In addition, the layout of the track, nestled in the dunes, was a demanding one with fast banked corners followed by challenging terrain with top-speed straights leading into slower passages.
“Because the drivers were always on the limit in Zandvoort, the set-up of the cars had to be a balanced one that struck a compromise between safety and performance,” said Baltes. “When setting the car up, the engineers had to bear in mind that the construction of the race tire was put under a huge amount of strain by the high speeds – particularly in the banked corners – and the large amount of downforce.”
The race tires were put to the test when crossing often-damaged high curbs at high speeds, resulting in abrasive wear to the tire carcass.
“On the whole, the dune circuit in Zandvoort put greater strain on the race tire than other DTM circuits,” explains Baltes. “The demands placed on the construction of the tire were particularly high. However, Hankook race tires have always demonstrated their high potential at this demanding circuit in the past.”
The Tarzanbocht, a 180-degree corner at the end of the start/finish straight, offered the best overtaking opportunity at Circuit Zandvoort, but drivers also had the option to attack the hairpin and the following curve in the final sector.
“Spectators had a very good view of the action from the grandstand opposite the pit lane, as well as the many natural vantage points,” Baltes continued. “The fast straights; many hills and crests; banked corners and the sandy, abrasive asphalt have made Zandvoort a very special challenge for the Hankook race tires, the cars and the drivers for years.”