The 2016 endurance season gets underway with the Hankook 24H race. Again this year, the tire maker Hankook acts as title sponsor and exclusive tire partner to the 24-hour event, which is contested from 14 to 16 January in the United Arab Emirates for the eleventh time.
The classic event on the Dubai Autodrome also marks the start of the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook, for which the prestigious “FIA International Series” status has again been confirmed this season. Like in the previous year, Hankook supports this renowned long distance championship with its quality Ventus racing tire.
Six rounds made up last year’s calendar of the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook. This season, another renowned venue joins the tour with the 24H Silverstone. Of the seven rounds of the only series featuring a long distance format, four are run over 24 hours. “The 24H SERIES powered by Hankook provides us with an ideal platform to showcase the performance of our tires on a high international level. We supply the drivers and teams with identical material at a consistently high standard and thus guarantee an equal playing field,” says Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook’s Motorsport Director Europe.
The season-opener in Dubai, in which a maximum of 100 racing vehicles are permitted to compete, poses tremendous challenges in terms of planning and logistics for the tire manufacturer. Already back in mid-November, the first race tires were loaded onto a ship and sent to the southeast of the Arabian Gulf. A total of 15 containers transported the “black gold” – around 5,000 slicks and 2,000 wet tires – to the largest city of the United Arab Emirates.
At the Dubai Autodrome racetrack, Hankook is represented round the clock by more than 50 staff members, including managers, mechanics and engineers. During the 24 hours of the race, the crew will work on four assembly lines in three shifts to ensure the smooth and efficient supply of Hankook Ventus race tires to the international teams.
Hankook’s engineers remain in close contact with drivers and teams to provide technical and professional support. As with all other stops on the calendar of the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook, a standardized compound for all slicks as well as wet tires is run on the 5.39-kilometre circuit of the Hankook 24H Dubai. Manfred Sandbichler states: “Traditionally the season-opening round in Dubai is used as a show of strength from the most prestigious car manufactures such as Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes and Porsche. We aim to perfectly support these different brands and vehicles as usual with our premium material and offer optimal and fair assistance from the season-opener in Dubai.”
When the chequered flag comes out at 2pm on Saturday 16 January to mark the end of the long distance spectacle and the winners celebrate, the Hankook squad continues their work. The equipment must be packed up, and every racing tire, including the used rubber, must be stowed back in the containers. All gear is then removed and reloaded onto the ship for the return trip of the slicks and wets.
For Hankook’s Motorsport Director Europe, this immense effort is a challenge and a great opportunity to underscore the extraordinary performance and efficiency of the premium manufacturer. “We aim to make an impact with our brand on the international motorsport stage right at the beginning of the year with a perfect performance in all areas at the Hankook 24H Dubai!”