Hankook has announced it will be introducing a completely new generation of slicks ahead of the 2017 DTM season. The new Ventus Race will be the fourth DTM version and is said to generate more grip than its predecessor, despite unchanged dimensions (FA: 300/680 R 18, RA: 320/710 R 18). The construction of the tire is said to, when pushed hard, wear ‘somewhat more quickly and heavily’ than last year’s model, which will have a significant influence on lap times, depending on driving style.
Hankook, the exclusive DTM tire partner is thus fulfilling 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 tires to lead to more exciting races and ‘significantly more’ overtaking. Final tests have already shown that lap times can increase by several seconds as tread wear progresses and depending on how aggressive the driving style is. The changes only affect dry tires; the DTM rain 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 tires,” explained 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 tires.”
“The new DTM slicks are a completely new development, although the sizes remain the same. With the fourth generation of Ventus Race tyres, the focus will be back on the ‘tire whisperers’ among the DTM drivers,” added Thomas Baltes, racing engineer responsible for the DTM at Hankook. “Those drivers and their engineers who manage to run the tires 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 tires during qualifying will also have more influence on the performance during the subsequent race than has previously been the case.”
Further regulation changes for the 2017 season will see the prohibitation of the slicks being pre-heated; drivers now must drive intelligently, particularly at the start and during the first laps after a pit stop, to get the tires up to working temperature as quickly as possible.