Hankook will be introducing a completely new generation of slicks to the racetrack for the European-based DTM touring car race season. The manufacturer is the tyre partner to the series and will supply its new Ventus Race product to race teams.
The new Ventus Race – the fourth generation of the tyre – has been designed to generate more grip than its predecessor despite unchanged dimensions (FA: 300/680 R 18, RA: 320/710 R 18). When pushed hard, Hankook says they will wear more quickly and heavily than last year’s model, which will have a significant influence on lap times, depending on driving style.
The new tyre was developed to fulfil a request by the three vehicle manufacturers – Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz – as well as the DTM organiser ITR e.V., who expect the new tyres to lead to even more exciting races and significantly more overtaking manoeuvres. Final tests have apparently already shown that lap times can increase by several seconds as tread wear progresses.
The changes only affect dry tyres; the DTM rain tyre variant, the Ventus Race Rain, will remain unchanged for the 2017 season.
“There is no doubt that the DTM is one of the most technically demanding racing series in the world, so our development engineers have had some hard nuts to crack with the DTM racing tyres,” said Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook’s Motorsport Director. “As in the past, we have done a good job fulfilling the 2017 specification, as feedback from the latest tests confirms. This means another exciting season awaits in terms of tyres.”
“The new DTM slicks are a completely new development, although the sizes remain the same,” added Thomas Baltes, the racing engineer responsible for the DTM at Hankook. “With the fourth generation of Ventus Race tyres, the focus will be back on the ‘tyre whisperers’ among the DTM drivers. Those drivers and engineers who manage to run the tyres in particularly well, in order to get them to their optimum temperature window as quickly as possible but without too much aggression, will have a significant advantage in 2017. The treatment of the tyres during qualifying will also have more influence on the performance during the subsequent race than has previously been the case.”
Another alteration for 2017 prohibits the slicks being pre-heated. Drivers must drive intelligently, particularly at the start and during the first laps after a pit stop, to get the tyres up to working temperature as quickly as possible.