Hankook Tire teams up for Le Mans

Exclusive supplier to Farnbacher Racing Team for Le Mans Series and 24 Hours of Le MansHankook Tire puts exceptional effort in tyre technology developmentThe world’s seventh largest and fastest growing tyre manufacturer shows great dedication to motorsports all over the world

 Ranked seventh among all tyre manufacturers in the world, Hankook Tire is proud to announce its entry into the 2009 Le Mans Series and 24 Hours of Le Mans. With its name globally renowned within motorsports thanks to the efforts and interest it had put for the past couple of years, the tyre manufacturer is presenting itself as a leading high performance tyre company in the Le Mans Series for the first time at the Paul Ricard Circuit, France. A sponsorship agreement to this entry has been signed between Hankook Tire and Farnbacher Racing Team on March 8 2009. This is another example of Hankook’s belief and dedication to performance in the area of motor-racing.

Hankook Tire has steadily increased its involvement in European racing over recent years. Last season, Hankook’s high-performance tyres were on the starting line in motorsports competitions in Germany, UK, the Netherlands, France, Italy and Spain. Hankook has previously gathered many years of experience in motorsports in Super GT races in Japan, Super races in Korea, championships in China’s CCC and CRC, and ALMS in America. Over the last two years, the company was able to show its racing tyre’s superior performance with Team Alzen Motorsport also in the German endurance championship, achieving the fastest laptimes ever on the famous Nuerburgring Nordschleife. Hankook’s accomplishments serve as a stable footstep into the next level of motor-racing hierarchy.

New for Le Mans Series and 24 Hours of Le Mans, Hankook Tire is going to team up with Farnbacher Racing to compete in the GT2 class in 2009 with a new Ferrari F 430 GTC. The tyre maker considers the Farnbacher team as the perfect partner that ties in perfectly with the strategy of the up-and-coming Le Mans races. Both companies are aiming for a successful and long-term potential partnership. Hankook Tire will be the exclusive supplier to the Farnbacher team.

“Our entry into Le Mans is not only to further expose the Hankook brand to motorsports enthusiasts and the general public”, says Jin-Wook Choi, Hankook Tire Executive Vice President and COO for the European Market. “We see our engagement also as the ideal proving and testing ground for future street tyre technologies. It is a further opportunity to help developing next generation tyres to satisfy the consumers’ demands – for instance what concerns increasing grip while lowering rolling resistance or in other words combining highest safety and efficiency at the same time.” Hankook Tire will integrate the Le Mans Series races into various marketing activities in the near future. The races are ranking top among Hankook Tire’s motorsports activities as they perfectly match the company’s motto, driving emotion and support talented teams like Farnbacher throughout Europe. The tyre manufacturer will also continue its dedication to motorsports because it is the perfect resort for demonstrating technical competence and the high performance of Hankook products, believing that racing can develop innovations that will find their way to mass production road cars.

With an intense tyre testing schedule and highly experienced technical engineers working on-site at each and every race weekend and private testing days, Hankook is poised to further expand its presence in the series within the next 12 months.

Continuous effort in tyre technology development

Hankook Tire continually invests approximately five per cent of revenue into R&D per year, one of the highest proportions of all tyre manufacturers. Six per cent of its employees, more than from its corporate division, are dedicated to work within the R&D-division. Over 800 development engineers and technicians with a total of 27 Ph.D. level researchers in Korea and in Hankook Tire’s overseas R&D network in Germany, USA, China and Japan are developing cutting edge technologies for best performance under all circumstances wether it will be on- or off-road use for cars, SUV, vans, trucks, busses or professional motorsports like rallye and track racing.

The 2009 Hankook Team Farnbacher Ferrari F430 GTC will be equipped with Hankook racing tyres Ventus F 200 slicks, Ventus Z 207 rain tyres as well as tailor made intermediates all in the sizes 280/650 R 18 at the front axle and 280/710 R 18 in the rear, fitted on BBS rims sized 11 x 18 inch. According to each track condition the team can select from different tread compounds offered for each axle and condition. To find a good compromise between the car’s balance as well as the tyre’s durability, for the basic tyre setup it is intended to use a one step softer compound at the front axle compared to the rear. Reflecting the different tracks that will see the new Hankook shood Ferrari in 2009, the choosen tyres will probably tend to be more soft at Nuerburgring (Ger) or Spa (Bel) and more hard at Algarve (Por) or Catalunya (Esp). Due to the circuit, for Silverstone (UK) even an asymmetric use (different compound on left and right side) is considered.

Hankook Ventus F 200 Slick- Compounds available for front axle: medium-soft, medium, medium-hard- Compounds available for rear axle: medium, medium-hard, hard

Hankook Ventus Intermed (based on F 200 constructions)- Compounds available for both axles: soft, medium

Hankook Ventus Z 207 rain tyre- Compounds available for both axles: soft, medium

The over-all estimated number of tyres to be used during the whole season will be more than 1,000 pieces. For each race, Hankook Tire will bring more than 250 pieces to the paddock.

Hankook Tire Technology in Motorsports

• Le Mans Series and 24 Heures du Mans, new from 2009 Sponsored Team: Hankook Team Farnbacher, Ferrari F430 GTC• Japan Super GT  Sponsored Team: Hankook Porsche Team – GT300• German Endurance Championship Nuerburgring (VLN) and 24 Hour Race Sponsored Team: Hankook-H&R Spezialfedern-Team Alzen Motorsport, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR• American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Sponsored Team: Primetime Race Group Team• China Circuit Championship (CCC) Sponsored Team: Hankook Tire Lufang Racing Team (2000cc)• International Rallye Championship (IRC) Sponsored Team: Opel Works Team• German Rallye Championship (DRM) Sponsored Team: Wallenwein Rallyesport• Suzuki Rallye Cup 2009 (Official Tyre)• China Rally Championship (CRC) Sponsored Team: Wanyu Rally Team (2007 Series Champion)• French Rallye Championship participation• Spain Rallye Championship Sponsored Team: Pedro Burgo Rallye Team• Suzuki Swift Tarmac Rallye Championship Spain (official Tyre)• Volante RACC Tarmac Championship• Formula D (Drift)  Sponsored Team: Hankook JIC Motorsports Team• IMSA Lites (Official Tyre)• Japanese Formula 3 Series (Official Tyre)• Korea DDGT Championship (Title Sponsor & Official Tyre)• CJ Super Race (Korea - Official Tyre Supplier)• Hankook R1 (Korea - Title Sponsor & Official Tyre)• Volkswagen Racing Cup (UK, Main