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Right tyre pressure decisive in the Alps
After the thrilling season-opener in Hockenheim, this weekend sees the DTM move on to the first two races on foreign soil. The differences in elevation around the 4.326-kilometre circuit in Spielberg, Austria, are perfectly integrated into the Alpine landscape. The race tyre from exclusive DTM partner Hankook has provided plenty of traction on the smooth asphalt of the Red Bull Ring in recent years, with low levels of wear allowing consistently quick lap times from start to finish.
Spielberg/Austria, 19 May 2016 – The idyllic Alpine racetrack is one of the fastest circuits in the most popular international touring car series. The seven right turns and two left turns put the front-left tyre under the most pressure. Even in such challenging conditions, the drivers can rely on the usual high level of performance from premium tyre maker Hankook’s Ventus Race tyre.
For team and drivers, it is important to get the race tyres to working temperature as quickly as possible on the smooth, fine asphalt. “Getting the right tyre pressure for the air and track temperature, and getting a balanced set-up for the car, makes all the difference,” says Hankook DTM race engineer Thomas Baltes.
While the race at the Hockenheimring tested the construction of the Hankook race tyre, the Red Bull Ring puts more pressure on the tread of the tyre, as the smooth asphalt provides less grip overall. Thomas Baltes: “This means that we have a slightly higher tread temperature in Spielberg than at other DTM circuits.”
The track layout at the Red Bull Ring is very varied, featuring long straights, sequences of fast turns, uphill and downhill sections. “The various turns and climbs, and the gradient, mean that a balanced mix of aerodynamics and mechanical grip is required in Spielberg,” explains the Hankook DTM race engineer.
The sharp right turn just after the start is a key point on the circuit. The drivers must hit the ideal line here to ensure that they have enough traction for the long uphill straight that follows. The hairpins later on test the grip level of the Hankook race tyre, as the drivers accelerate hard out of these slow sections.
The weather can be a real unknown quantity in Spielberg. “In recent years, we have experienced a few torrential downpours. The drivers then have to be especially careful to avoid the standing water that collects at some points on the Red Bull Ring, increasing the danger of aquaplaning.”
In addition to the DTM, the young drivers from the FIA Formula 3 European Championship will also be competing in Spielberg. The talented youngsters have been driving exclusively on tyres from the premium tyre maker for five years now, with a constantly high level of reliability. “The understanding of perfect tyre handling is a critical success factor. As drivers we need to understand the tyres to fully use their high potential. Due to their strong performance the Hankook racing tyres are ideally suited for this,” says Lance Stroll, who leads the championship after the first three races of the season.