Prepared & ready: Hankook awaits Formula E race debut
Hankook Tire, new official technical partner and tyre supplier of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship and title sponsor of the current season’s opening race, says it is “prepared and ready” for its engagement in the all-electric race series. The Hankook Mexico City E-Prix takes place on 14 January and is the first of eleven race weekends around the world this year that will host a total of 16 races. Some 40,000 spectators are expected to attend the event at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
With the opening round of Season 9 imminent, the tyre maker reports that many of its engineers and service technicians are on-site to support the eleven teams with a comprehensive tyre service. “We have invested two years in the development of the Hankook iON Race. Roughly 70 specifications were tested at the track before we came up with the final version,” says Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook Motorsport Director. “The test in Valencia in mid-December also provided us with more valuable information and findings. We are ready for Mexico and looking forward to the first race of Season 9.”
For the 22 drivers, this season heralds a new era: As well as new Hankook tyres, the third-generation cars are also set for their race debut in Mexico. They are the fastest, lightest and most efficient single-seater electric race cars in the world.
The first free practice session of the season takes place on Friday 13 January, from 16:30 to 17:00 (local time). Saturday’s action gets off to an early start at 07:30 with the second 30-minute practice session. Qualifying follows from 09:40 to 10:55. The 22 drivers then embark on the first one-hour race of the year at exactly 14:03.
Hankook happy with pre-season test in Valencia
The dress rehearsal for the Formula E season took place in Mexico at the start of January, and Hankook confirms that it mastered this “without any issues.” During prior testing over a five-day period in Valencia, Spain in mid-December, the tyre maker says the Hankook iON Race “impressed teams with its strong performance,” both in the dry and on a wet track. “The test was extremely positive. We were particularly pleased when it rained, as that allowed us to gather more information on the performance in wet conditions,” says Thomas Baltes, Hankook’s Formula E race engineer.
Over the five days of testing, the drivers completed 5,128 laps and covered a total distance of 10,750 miles or 17,300 kilometres. That is roughly the same distance as from the test circuit in Valencia, Spain to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico. Maximilian Guenther from Maserati MSG Racing set a Formula E test lap record of 1:25.127 minutes.