The 24H Series powered by Hankook returns to Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal this weekend (8th to 10th July) after a year away. The state-of-the-art circuit, which is both varied and technically demanding, will host the Hankook 24H Portimāo for the fifth time. For the Hankook Ventus Race tyre, Autódromo Internacional do Algarve is one of the most challenging tracks on the calendar for this year’s 24H Series powered by Hankook.
Awaiting the competitors at the 24-hour marathon in Portugal is a 4.653-kilometre circuit with 15 corners, some of them blind, tricky crests and dips, and big changes in elevation. The high track temperatures pose the main challenge for the Hankook race tyre. “The heat in Portugal means the track can get very hot, which results in increased degradation of the running surface. Some of the cornering speeds are very high, which puts extra stress on the running surface of the Ventus Race. The left side of the car is put under particular strain,” explains Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook Motorsport Director Europe.
The high kerbs could also be stumbling blocks. The drivers must first get the Hankook race tyre up to its optimal working temperature, before they can take the kerbs at top speed. If a tyre is cool and has a low pressure, racing across the kerbs can damage its construction. The many undulating passages, with uphill gradients of over six degrees and a maximum descent of 12 percent, put the Ventus Race through its paces. Manfred Sandbichler: “The high compression values at this undulating track in Portugal put particular strain on the tyre construction. The conditions were similar at Spa-Francorchamps, where it was still possible to exploit the full potential of the Hankook race tyre.”
Temperatures at Autódromo Internacional do Algarve can sometimes fall significantly in the night, resulting in the track cooling dramatically and grip levels reducing. The teams must adapt to this and react to the different conditions by altering the tyre pressures. “Portimāo is a very nice, flowing and fast track, which places great demands on all the competitors. The construction of the Hankook race tyre will be under a little more strain than the running surface, but the general stress level is high. As such, the way the drivers manage their tyres is very important,” says Manfred Sandbichler.
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