DTM Tire Partner Hankook Tire aims to continue its success again in 2015
Since joining the DTM, Hankook Tire has continued to develop its race tire. For the season after the 2011 debut, the tire grew significantly larger and wider, which effectively generated considerably more mechanical grip.
In the 2013 season, the Ventus Race Plus option tire celebrated its premiere. It was run in conjunction to the baseline slick and, thanks to its softer rubber compound, slashed up to one-and-a-half seconds off the lap times. This gave drivers and teams the chance to apply new tactics and allowed even more overtaking maneuvers on the track – not least because thanks to all the technical advancements and innovations, Hankook Tire offered a constantly high performance, and – equally as important for series that are supplied exclusively – provided unfailing reliability and identical quality standards for all.
This season’s regulations stipulate the use of the Ventus Race Prime and the Ventus Race Rain tire. Two races are held on each DTM weekend. Saturday’s race runs over 40 minutes plus one lap, with Sunday’s event contested over 60 minutes plus one lap. Whilst no pit stop is mandatory during Saturday’s race, one tire change is compulsory on Sunday. Instead of the previous five sets of dry tires, teams are supplied with a total of four sets for the two 20-minute qualifying sessions as well as both races.
Hankook Tire’s DTM race engineer, Thomas Baltes, has no doubt that the premium manufacturer’s success streak in the DTM will continue. “From a technical standpoint, the vehicles have been put on ice, hence we are not expecting any significant changes. During the recent final official pre-season tests at Oschersleben race track, the new practice and race formats were already being simulated. For instance, teams were turning two warm-up laps plus two fast runs, which could be how it goes in qualifying this season. Afterwards, they drove the 40-minute distance on the same tire set to see how to execute a top lap in qualifying on the Ventus Race tire while conserving the rubber for Saturday’s race.”
Thomas Baltes is not expecting anyone to change tires during the race on Saturday. “Even on demanding circuits like Hockenheim and Zandvoort it doesn’t make sense to change tires. Our Ventus Race is easily able to deliver consistently high grip levels over the race distance without showing any signs of wear. At this point we anticipate that the teams will try to run on one set of tires for the qualifying and Saturday’s race, which should certainly be possible if drivers manage their tires cleverly.”
In theory, Sunday’s 60-minute race could also be contested on just one set of Hankook Ventus Race Prime, but the regulations stipulate a tire change. Hankook Tire’s DTM race engineer: “The aim of the teams will be to run two new sets of tires in the 60-minute race on Sunday. To achieve this, the key factor will be to find an optimum vehicle balance over the entire race weekend which is on the one hand aggressive enough to ensure consistently fast laps, but on the other hand doesn’t over-stress the Ventus Race Prime tires. At Hockenheim, we’ll see how the teams actually come to grips with the rules. Our previous clean slate of 40 races without any tire damage is a winning combination of tire performance as well as the cooperation between the vehicle manufacturers, tire technicians and engineers, and the pilots. And I’m sure that this success story will continue.”
Hankook Tire DTM Best Pit Stop Award back for 2015
Hankook Tire will again bestow the Pit Stop Award this season. Since entering the DTM in 2011, the premium manufacturer has rewarded the fastest pit crew of each race with three crates of beer at the following round. Analogue to the DTM regulations, the points towards this contest are allocated per vehicle. The best team earns 25 points for the respective vehicle (2nd to 10th position earns 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1 points respectively). The score is tallied according to the official DMSB pit stop times from the vehicle entering the pit lane to the time of its exit. At the end of the year the overall winner is honored with a crystal challenge trophy – displaying a stylized pit stop scene – on which the names of all the winning teams are engraved. Moreover, Hankook Tire puts on a party at the winning team’s home HQ based on the squad’s preference.
With this award, the exclusive DTM tire partner acknowledges the “quick lads behind the scenes”, who, despite doing work that is often decisive in the race outcome, never actually enjoy their time in the spotlight. The reigning pit stop champion (2014 – vehicle: Paul Di Resta) and title defender is the team from Mercedes AMG, after relegating the previous year’s winner BMW Team Schnitzer (2013 – vehicle: Bruno Spengler) to second place. The Audi Sport Team Phoenix (2011 – vehicle: Martin Tomczyk) and the Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline (2012 - vehicle: Mattias Ekström) are also on the winner’s list of the Best Pit Stop Award from Hankook Tire.
Manfred Sandbichler (Hankook Motorsport Director Europe): “As a tire manufacturer we would, of course, not have objected in principle to continue running our fast Ventus Race Plus tires. After all, over the last two years we were able to record that, as far as the tires are concerned, the underlying concept of ensuring more overtaking maneuvers was excellently implemented by our engineers. But the decision to focus on one type of tire in the context of the new format is understandable, and as a DTM partner we fully support this. This helps make the race result easier to understand for the spectators. Two qualifying sessions and two races also mean double the suspense for fans, which translates into more entertainment and appeal. For the teams, it’ll be about finding the optimum vehicle setup, especially for the 40-minute race on Saturday, so that they cover the distance on one set of tires. If the setup or the drivers are too aggressive or even too conservative they will pay the price at the end of the race. As tire manufacturer, we’re looking forward to an exciting and interesting season and we would like to continue our impeccable run of 40 in the DTM races again in 2015.”
Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director): “Hankook Tire is a great partner. Again last year it was huge fun with both sorts of tires, the standard and option slick, but it proved a challenge for manufacturers to adjust to both. Now we’ve agreed on the standard slick, and this makes it easier and clearer for the spectators. Consistency and reliability are important, and this is what we’ve always received from Hankook Tire. The race tires from Hankook Tire will again be a stabilizing factor this season and provide the highest level of performance, which is precisely what we’ve become accustomed to in the past few years.”
Dieter Gass (Head of DTM Audi Sport): “We are completely satisfied with Hankook Tire’s performance. For a tire manufacturer it is always difficult to produce a control tire. In the first instance you have to be reliable for all manufacturers. And this is exactly what Hankook Tire has done to now. The second critical point is to always deliver consistent and reproducible quality and Hankook Tire has fulfilled this criterion perfectly, as well. As a result, we are totally happy with the race tires that Hankook Tire has supplied to us now in their fifth DTM year.”
Ulrich Fritz (Mercedes-AMG DTM Team Principal): “The discussions about the option and standard tires could be endless, but with clarity in mind for spectators and fans it was the right decision to go with one tire for 2015, namely the standard slick. Whether manufacturers came to terms better with one or the other is actually secondary. The fact is Hankook Tire does a very good job. The DTM is one of the most demanding series when it comes to sporting and technical aspects and for this reason Hankook Tire is exactly the right partner. That we now have four instead of five sets of tires available introduces a new strategic component. The challenge makes it fun, that’s why we’re in motor racing.”
Hans Werner Aufrecht (President ITR e.V.): “I can only repeat what I have emphasized since we first began working together with Hankook Tire. Hankook Tire delivers tires with consistently high quality standards. Race drivers are always quick to complain if a set of tires is different or faster than someone else’s. But that’s not the case with Hankook Tire. And the fact that there has not been one single puncture in the last 40 DTM races is something Hankook Tire can be very proud of. Hankook Tire has supplied a very fast tire in the past with the option rubber. At the end of the day, we have to ensure that there is more clarity with only one sort of tire. Overtaking is now the deciding factor between victory and defeat and not the result of a different tire strategy. And fans will thank us and Hankook Tire for this.”