Hankook debut as title sponsor of 24H Dubai event
From Thursday this week, the eyes of motorsport fans around the world will be on Dubai, where the 2015 race season gets underway with the Hankook 24H Dubai on January 8 – 10. The highlight 24-hour event in the United Arab Emirates celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
And, with 95 cars signed up to start, it has set a new record before a wheel has been turned. Premium manufacturer Hankook is making its debut as title sponsor and tire partner of this mega event, which doubles up as the curtain raiser for the FIA 24H SERIES powered by Hankook. This official championship, taking place across six venues, is the world’s only endurance series to feature three 24-hour events on its race calendar.
Hankook began its preparations for the race in Dubai several weeks ago. Indeed, back in early December 2014, a ship carrying 17 Hankook containers – with app. 5,500 slicks and 2,000 wet-weather tires inside – set off for the southeastern coast of the Persian Gulf. A team of more than 50 mechanics and engineers from the premium manufacturer are hard at work at the Dubai Autodrome.
“We’re working in three shifts on a total of five assembly lines,” reports Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook’s Motorsport Director Europe. “With those efforts and relatively high temperatures compared to what we’re used to, our people need breaks to recharge and ensure they stay at the top of their game.”
Hankook supplies the racing teams with standardized tires. Only the front-wheel-drive competitors have the option of a slightly harder rubber compound for the 5.39-kilometer (3.35-mile) circuit, with its high-speed straights and 16 corners.
During the race itself, which will start on Friday at 2.00 p.m. local time, the fitters will provide the international teams with tire service. Then, 24 hours later – once the racing in the Hankook 24H Dubai is over – all tires, used and unused, will be shipped back.
“I’m quite sure the race will take place under dry conditions,” says Manfred Sandbichler optimistically. “That’s something you can practically always depend on here in Dubai.”