Hankook to be tyre partner to DTM for 5th year
Hankook Tire will continue to be the exclusive tyre partner to DTM, an international touring car series with Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, for this season. The season, to be started from May 2, will be fifth year for Hankook as an exclusive tyre partner for the racing competition.
Since joining the DTM, Hankook has continued to develop its race tyre. For the season after the 2011 debut, the tyre grew significantly larger and wider, which effectively generated considerably more mechanical grip. In the 2013 season, the Ventus Race Plus option tyre celebrated its premiere. It was run in conjunction with the baseline slick and, thanks to its softer rubber compound, slashed up to one-and-a-half seconds off the lap times. This gave drivers and teams the chance to apply new tactics and allowed even more overtaking manoeuvres on the track – not least because thanks to all the technical advancements and innovations, Hankook offered a constantly high performance, and – equally as important for series that are supplied exclusively – provided unfailing reliability and identical quality standards for all.
This season’s regulations stipulate the use of the Ventus Race Prime and the Ventus Race Rain tyre. Two races are held on each DTM weekend. Saturday’s race runs over 40 minutes plus one lap, with Sunday’s event contested over 60 minutes plus one lap. Whilst no pit stop is mandatory during Saturday’s race, one tyre change is compulsory on Sunday. Instead of the previous five sets of dry tyres, teams are supplied with a total of four sets for the two 20-minute qualifying sessions as well as both races.
Hankook’s DTM race engineer, Thomas Baltes, has no doubt that the premium manufacturer’s success streak in the DTM will continue. “From a technical standpoint, the vehicles have been put on ice, hence we are not expecting any significant changes. During the recent final official pre-season tests at Oschersleben race track, the new practice and race formats were already being simulated. For instance, teams were turning two warm-up laps plus two fast runs, which could be how it goes in qualifying this season. Afterwards, they drove the 40-minute distance on the same tyre set to see how to execute a top lap in qualifying on the Ventus Race tyre while conserving the rubber for Saturday’s race.”
Thomas Baltes is not expecting anyone to change tyres during the race on Saturday. “Even on demanding circuits like Hockenheim and Zandvoort it doesn’t make sense to change tyres. Our Ventus Race is easily able to deliver consistently high grip levels over the race distance without showing any signs of wear. At this point we anticipate that the teams will try to run on one set of tyres for the qualifying and Saturday’s race, which should certainly be possible if drivers manage their tyres cleverly.”
In theory, Sunday’s 60-minute race could also be contested on just one set of Hankook Ventus Race Prime, but the regulations stipulate a tyre change. Hankook’s DTM race engineer: “The aim of the teams will be to run two new sets of tyres in the 60-minute race on Sunday. To achieve this, the key factor will be to find an optimum vehicle balance over the entire race weekend which is on the one hand aggressive enough to ensure consistently fast laps, but on the other hand doesn’t over-stress the Ventus Race Prime tyres. At Hockenheim, we’ll see how the teams actually come to grips with the rules. Our previous clean slate of 40 races without any tyre damage is a winning combination of tyre performance as well as the cooperation between the vehicle manufacturers, tyre technicians and engineers, and the pilots. And I’m sure that this success story will continue.”
Hankook DTM Best Pit Stop Award back for 2015
Hankook will again bestow the Pit Stop Award this season. Since entering the DTM in 2011, the premium manufacturer has rewarded the fastest pit crew of each race with three crates of beer at the following round. Analogue to the DTM regulations, the points towards this contest are allocated per vehicle. The best team earns 25 points for the respective vehicle (2nd to 10th position earns 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1 points respectively). The score is calculated according to the official DMSB pit stop times from the vehicle entering the pit lane to the time of its exit. At the end of the year the overall winner is honoured with a crystal challenge trophy – displaying a stylised pit stop scene – on which the names of all the winning teams are engraved. Moreover, Hankook puts on a party at the winning team’s home HQ based on the squad’s preference.
With this award, the exclusive DTM tyre partner acknowledges the “quick lads behind the scenes”, who, despite doing work that is often decisive in the race outcome, never actually enjoy their time in the spotlight. The reigning pit stop champion (2014 – vehicle: Paul Di Resta) and title defender is the team from Mercedes AMG, after relegating the previous year’s winner BMW Team Schnitzer (2013 – vehicle: Bruno Spengler) to second place. The Audi Sport Team Phoenix (2011 – vehicle: Martin Tomczyk) and the Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline (2012 – vehicle: Mattias Ekström) are also on the winner’s list of the Best Pit Stop Award from Hankook.