Since its DTM debut in 2011, Hankook has consistently developed its slick tyre in four phases. As early as 2012, the premium tyre maker presented its second generation – a larger and wider tyre, adapted to the new DTM cars. In 2013, Hankook developed the option tyre, in addition to the basic slick. With its super-soft compound, this tyre allowed very 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, which was introduced in 2017, features a slightly softer compound. As a rule forbidding the pre-heating of slicks was introduced at the same time as the new tyre, the drivers’ ability to manage the tyres has become a crucial factor in the DTM.
Despite all the technical developments and innovations, the exclusive DTM tyre partner always delivers a consistently high quality to the teams. The perfect support provided by Hankook engineers on site ensures that all the DTM drivers can take full advantage of the potential performance of the Ventus Race, resulting 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 upped its pace. Instead of one qualifying and one race per round, each race weekend featured two qualifying sessions and two races. The high performance of the Hankook race tyre remained a constant in the international touring car series. In the 2018 season, two night races were held for the first time in DTM history. The Ventus Race impressed again 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.
The 2019 season was a big challenge for Hankook. The DTM cars lined up with a new turbo engine, which was up to 100 hp more powerful than its predecessor, while the Hankook race tyre remained unchanged. However, the performance of the Ventus Race 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: “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.”
The Hankook Best Pit Stop Award is this year being presented for the tenth time. Since becoming involved in the DTM in 2011, the premium tyre maker has acknowledged the team that produced the fastest tyre changes over the course of the entire season with this award. 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. This coveted 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).
Now in its tenth year, the partnership between Hankook and the DTM is still proving successful. Despite the coronavirus crisis, fans have still enjoyed a thrilling season, with 16 races so far. The finale of the DTM will take place this weekend (6th to 8th November) at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg. Going into the deciding two races, the battle for the title is still wide open. 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 of winning the title. No matter which of the three drivers emerges triumphant at the end of the season, two things are already certain: the 2020 DTM champion will be at the wheel of an Audi and on Hankook race tyres.
Hankook & DTM fast facts:
- Ten years of Hankook and the DTM
- Four generations of tyre
- Over 150 races together, in ten countries
- Seven different champions on Hankook tyres
- Five teams have won the Hankook Best Pit Stop Award
- Each driver has seven sets of slicks (14 front and 14 rear tyres) at their disposal per DTM weekend
- The rear tyre (slick) is 356 mm wide, with a diameter of 712 mm
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