GENNEP, Netherlands—Organizers of the 24H Series, a quintet of 12- and 24-hour endurance races for GT and touring cars in Europe and the Middle East, have named Hankook Tire Co. Inc. its exclusive tire partner for the next few seasons.
Hankook replaces Goodyear's Dunlop Motorsports unit, which has been the series' race tire supplier for the past several years, according to Creventic, promoter and organizer of the 24H Series. It said the pending closing of Goodyear's Birmingham, England, race tire plant influenced its decision.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Creventic said the contract calls for the series to be renamed “24H Series powered by Hankook” and for each event to carry the Hankook name as well.
The series has five races this season, which stretches into 2015: Zandvoort, Netherlands, May 30-31 (12 hours); Barcelona, Spain, Sept. 5-7 (Dunlop will supply this 24-hour race, due to prior contractual arrangements); Budapest, Hungary, Oct. 3-4 (12 hours); Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Jan. 8-10, 2015 (24 hours); and Mugello, Italy, March 2015.
The series is open to GTs and “silhouette”-style cars, ranging from “hot hatchbacks” up to proper GT3 machinery and purpose-built race cars, Ceventic said.
The most recent race, in Dubai in January, attracted more than 75 entries from a dozen countries.
Manfred Sandbichler, director of motorsport at Hankook Tire Europe, said Hankook's experience in other forms of endurance racing will serve the company well in preparing for the 24H Series.
“With our comprehensive lineup of competition tires that have proven themselves successfully in classic endurance races on many occasions already, for instance at the Nürburgring or at Le Mans, we are perfectly able to meet the requirements of the field of competitors in all its diversity,” he said.
Hankook will have on hand at all races a team of experienced competition engineers to assist the teams on site with technical support in tires and chassis set-up.
Creventic's Gerrie Willems said the company and the 24H competitors are “grateful for the support we got from Dunlop over the years. They were instrumental in raising the profile of the various races and the 24H Series.”
Regarding Hankook, Willems said, “Hankook has become widely acknowledged in international motorsport and has built a strong reputation and vast experience in various top-level competition categories. Hankook's competition department will also be able to provide the teams with their technical support.”
Depending on weather and track conditions, Hankook said it will provide Ventus Race slick or rain tires designed specifically for endurance events.
Separately, Hankook disclosed it will again be the exclusive race tire supplier for the DTM German Touring Car Championship, celebrating its 30th year as a series in 2014.
This will be Hankook's fourth year as the DTM's designated race tire supplier. The tire maker's contract runs through 2016.
The company's experience with the DTM also led DTM organizer ITR to award the South Korean tire maker the race tire contract for the Formula 3 Euro Series, another ITR-sanctioned series.