“Bigger and Wider”: Hankook reveals Ventus tyre for 2012 DTM season
Hankook is approaching the final quarter of the 2011 DTM season, its first as exclusive tyre partner of the German touring car series, with events in Oschersleben, Valencia and at the famous Hockenheimring at Baden-Württemberg to conclude this year’s series. The manufacturer took the opportunity to set out its tyre development for the 2012 season during the UK leg at Brands Hatch, and the most striking feature of the new Ventus tyre will be its increased dimensions – a development that Hankook says will help bring down lap times next year.
Hankook presented the new generation of the Ventus just before Sunday’s race (4 September). The new tyre is based on the modified requirements within the specification book for the 2012 season; the front tyre has a width of 300 millimetres and an outside diameter of 680 millimetres, making it bigger than the current rear tyre. The new rear tyre is proportionally even bigger in diameter than the front tyre, increasing by 50 millimetres.
Hankook’s chief constructor James Kim is in charge of the development work by the tyre partner in Korea and Germany, leading a team of four other engineers. He says this season’s data has provided the basis for the new tyre development: “We have learned a lot from our current Ventus DTM race tyres. However, diameter and width are so different that we had to make a new start in construction. For about 50 per cent, the tyre is a new construction. In the process, co-operation with all the three manufacturers is excellent and very effective.”
In the package together with the new car, the Hankook tyre for 2012 is promising even faster lap times while consistency remains at a high level. “Normally, an improved overall performance has a negative effect on safety. We have succeeded in improving the tyre and maintaining the safety level”, Kim confirms. Extensive test runs with the new tyres will start in mid-September.
Hankook says another focus of the tyre’s development was on the environment. Both in racing and for road-legal tyres, Hankook refrains from using highly aromatic oils applied as plasticisers to provide greater grip due to the toxicity of high-PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). While the ban on these oils in the EU has been in place since 2010 on road-going cars, racing has largely been free to continue using the ingredient. Kim says: “Since the beginning, we have also been considering this EU-rule for our DTM tyres and we are no longer using these oils. Nevertheless, we have maintained the grip level.”
So far, Hankook believes its Ventus race tyre has been fully convincing at all tracks, an assertion backed by Audi driver Oliver Jarvis: “In every situation, the tyre is giving a direct and reliable feedback and provides the drivers and engineers with a large window in which they can work. That is what you want in motorsport.” On the arrival of the 2012 Ventus iteration, Jarvis is equally supportive of the Korean manufacturer’s involvement: “All of us were eagerly awaiting the premiere of our new tyre partner in the DTM. One can only say: well done, Hankook.”
The comparative DTM Hankook Ventus production dimensions are:
Front axle 2011: 260/660 R 18 Rear axle 2011: 280/660 R 18
Front axle 2012: 300/680 R 18 Rear axle 2012: 320/710 R 18