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Tough test for the Hankook race tyres at the sandy circuit in the Zandvoort dunes
- - Following their trip to Moscow, premium tyre maker Hankook and the DTM are abroad again this weekend for races eleven and twelve of the season. The Dutch coastal town of Zandvoort hosts what is probably the most popular international touring car series, and the dune circuit is one of the most demanding tracks on the race calendar for the Hankook race tyres - Ventus F200 for dry and Ventus Z207 for wet - supplied by the exclusive DTM tyre partner. High cornering speeds, abrasive asphalt and a lot of sand, blown onto the racing surface from the dunes and the nearby beach, place great demands on the construction and tread of the Hankook race tyres.
Zandvoort/Netherlands, 17th August 2017 – The 4.307-kilometre stretch of asphalt at Circuit Zandvoort winds its way through dunes and over hills and crests, making it one of the highlights of the DTM season for the drivers. Many of the fast corners are only visible at the last moment and the track is narrower than at other DTM circuits, meaning the drivers are frequently very close to the track limits.
The asphalt is abrasive, sharp and almost always covered in fine sand, which is blown onto the track from the dunes. “The abrasive asphalt puts a lot of strain on the tread of the race tyres. The fact that the cars are constantly losing grip and skidding on the sandy surface causes the tyre surface to heat up. However, these strains have not affected the performance of the race tyre in the past,” says Hankook DTM race engineer Thomas Baltes.
The layout of the track, nestled in the dunes, is a demanding one. Fast banked corners are followed by technically difficult sections, while top-speed straights lead into slower passages. Thomas Baltes: “Because the drivers are always on the limit in Zandvoort, the set-up of the cars must be a balanced one that strikes a compromise between safety and performance. When setting the car up, the engineers must bear in mind that the construction of the race tyre is put under a huge amount of strain by the high speeds – particularly in the banked corners – and the large amount of downforce.”
The race tyres are subjected to another stern test when the cars cross the high kerbs, some of which are damaged. The drivers often take the kerbs at high speed, resulting in huge impact forces on the carcass of the race tyre. “On the whole, the dune circuit in Zandvoort puts greater strain on the race tyre than other DTM circuits. The demands placed on the construction of the tyre are particularly high. However, the Hankook race tyres have always demonstrated its high potential at this demanding circuit in the past,” explains the DTM race engineer.
The Tarzanbocht, a 180-degree corner at the end of the start/finish straight, offers the best overtaking opportunity at Circuit Zandvoort. However, it is also possible to attack in the hairpin and the following chicane in the final sector. Spectators have a very good view of the action from the grandstand opposite the pit lane, as well as the many natural vantage points. 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 tyre for years. However, the same applies to the cars and the drivers,” says Hankook DTM race engineer Thomas Baltes.