Hankook celebrates 10 years with the DTM
Hankook and German touring car series DTM are marking a decade-long partnership this season. The manufacturer has supplied tyres at more than 150 races, with the Hankook Ventus Race demonstrating its quality in a diverse range of conditions. Following its DTM debut in 2011, Hankook has developed the tyre in four phases to tackle new developments in the series.
In 2012, the second generation Ventus Race was adapted to new DTM cars. Hankook made the tyre larger and wider. In 2013, Hankook developed a super-soft compound option tyre in addition to the basic slick. It allowed drivers to set fast lap times, before deteriorating dramatically after a certain distance, as specified in the design brief. The fourth and latest evolutionary stage of the Ventus Race was introduced in 2017, featuring a slightly softer compound. This was introduced at the same time as a new DTM rule forbidding pre-heating slick tyres, increasing the importance of tyre management.
In addition to supplying the rubber, Hankook engineers supports the championship on site to maximise its tyres’ potential performance. The manufacturer says this results in spectacular and exciting races. At the end of the 2014 season, Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook’s motorsport director Europe, announced: “Since our debut in the DTM, we have completed 40 races without a puncture. This clean sheet is also the result of the good cooperation between the car manufacturers, tyre technicians, engineers and drivers.”
The following year, the DTM increased its intensity, with each race weekend featuring two qualifying sessions and races. In the 2018 season, two night races were held for the first time in DTM history, in a new challenge for the Ventus Race. The tyre impressed in Misano, Italy, both on a hot track during the day and in heavy rain at night. “I was astonished by how unbelievably consistent the Hankook race tyre was in all conditions. The Hankook engineers have done a great job,” said former Formula 1 driver and guest starter Alessandro Zanardi, who finished fifth in race two in Misano. In autumn 2018, the DTM and Hankook celebrated its 111th race together at the iconic Nürburgring.
In 2019, a new challenge was presented to Hankook. The DTM cars lined up with a new turbo engine, which was up to 100hp more powerful than its predecessor, while the Hankook race tyre remained unchanged. Its performance was unaffected by the turbo engine’s significantly higher amount of power and non-linear transmission. BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt, after the finale in Hockenheim, said: “The new, more powerful turbo engines were a challenge for everyone, but Hankook did a good job, as always, and there were no issues with the tyres. The drivers learned quickly and always made it through the races successfully with two stints. We still have a great collaboration with Hankook.”
Hankook Best Pit Stop Award
The Hankook Best Pit Stop Award is being presented in 2020 for the tenth time. The award is a result of Hankook’s desire to acknowledge the team that produced the fastest tyre changes over the course of the entire season. At the end of each race weekend, points are awarded for the fastest tyre change from the two races, using the same points system as the DTM standings.
The award is not only intended to acknowledge the performance of the victorious crew, which is always increasingly important in this fiercely-competitive international touring car series. With the Best Pit Stop Award, Hankook is also raising awareness of just how important and decisive the work carried out by all the teams in the pit lane can be. Defending champion is Audi Sport Team Phoenix, who won last year to complete a hat-trick and earn their fourth victory in total. The names of five different teams can be found on the trophy: Audi Sport Team Phoenix (2011, 2017 – 2019), BMW Team MTEK (2016), Audi Sport Team Abt (2012, 2015), Mercedes-AMG Team HWA (2014) and BMW Team Schnitzer (2013).
Despite the coronavirus crisis, DTM fans have still enjoyed a thrilling season, with 16 races so far. The finale of the DTM takes place this weekend (6 to 8 November) at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg. Going into the deciding two races, three drivers have a chance of winning the title: German René Rast tops the table with 304 points, 19 points ahead of Switzerland’s Nico Müller. Dutchman Robin Frijns, in third place on 263, also has an outside chance. Whichever of the three drivers emerges triumphant, two things are already certain: the 2020 DTM champion will be at the wheel of an Audi and on Hankook race tyres.