DTM, Hankook to guest star at Super GT finale

Wednesday 1st November 2017 | 0 Comments

Hankook’s Manfred Sandbichler believes the visit “is ringing in a partnership” that will make both series even more attractive.
Hankook’s Manfred Sandbichler believes the visit “is ringing in a partnership” that will make both series even more attractive.

Following the season finale at the Hockenheimring in Germany last month, the DTM touring car championship and exclusive tyre partner Hankook are heading for extra time in the land of the rising sun. On 11 and 12 November, the three competing manufacturers, Audi, BMW and Mercedes AMG, will be present at the final of the Super GT series in Motegi/Japan, returning the visit to Hockenheim made by Super GT.

Drivers Loïc Duval (Audi), Augusto Farfus (BMW) and Maro Engel (Mercedes AMG) will join Super GT vehicles from Honda, Lexus and Nissan Nismo on the track in Motegi for demonstration laps on Ventus Race motorsport tyres from Hankook, tyres used in different configurations in the DTM since Hankook came on board as tyre partner in 2011. According to Hankook Tire, the trip to Japan has been organised in order to intensify the cooperation between the ITR as the umbrella organisation of the DTM and the GTA, its counterpart for Super GT, and to draw up joint technical rules. Achieving the above, it adds, would serve as a “prerequisite to be able to use the cars in both series from 2019 onwards.”

Two of the three DTM drivers have previously driven in the Super GT. Audi driver Loïc Duval is an old hand in this series, having competed in Super GT between 2006 and 2012. During this time, he took five chequered flags in 57 races and started from pole position six times. “As a former Super GT Champion, I am looking forward to returning to Japan with my Audi RS 5 DTM,” said the Frenchman, who won the Championship title in 2010 with the Weider Honda Racing team together with Takashi Kogure.

Augusto Farfus is also familiar with the Super GT series and the Japanese motorsports scene as a whole. The BMW driver took part in several races in the GT300 category and finished third during the 1,000-kilometre race in Suzuka in 2014. “I have been impressed again and again by the enthusiasm shown by Japanese motorsports fans, and am very proud to be able to present the BMW M4 DTM to them,” said the Brazilian, who will be at the wheel of Tom Blomqvist’s car.

Maro Engel, on the other hand, is not only a rookie in the Super GT series – he has never even visited Japan before. “I have heard so much about the great atmosphere at the tracks there and am curious to see what reception our Mercedes-AMG DTM will get from the Japanese spectators,” said the DTM returnee.

“This guest appearance by Hankook and the DTM in Japan will be a great experience,” comments Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook motorsport director Europe. “The DTM vehicles with our Ventus Race will be create a stir among the Japanese fans, just like the recent appearance of the Super GT vehicles during the final in Hockenheim. This return visit to Japan is ringing in a partnership which will make the two, already very popular series, even more attractive.”

The visit accompanies continued talks between the DTM and Super GT on a joint set of regulations, Class One, which are set to be introduced in 2019.

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Category: Motorsport