Tough test for the Hankook race tyre at the Ardennes Rollercoaster
- 12H Spa-Francorchamps is round three of this season’s 24H Series powered by Hankook
- Demanding layout puts drivers, cars and race tyres to the test
- Unpredictable weather in the Ardennes can be the X factor
Neu-Isenburg, Germany, 21.04.2022 – The 24H Series powered by Hankook enters its third round. The renowned endurance series is in Belgium this weekend for the Hankook 12H Spa-Francorchamps. The race is split over two days. The field of roughly 50 starters contest the first 5.5 hours from 12:25 (CEST) on Saturday, before returning at 11:20 on Sunday for the second 6.5 hours. For the Hankook Ventus Race tyre, the Ardennes Rollercoaster is the biggest challenge on the entire calendar in the 24H Series powered by Hankook.
The 7.004-kilometre Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps winds its way through the Ardennes in an exciting sequence of corners, long straights and undulating sections. Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook Motorsport Director Europe: “The big changes in elevation make for high compression values. Furthermore, the drivers take some of the corners very fast, which generates huge amounts of g-force. This combination puts great strain on the tyre construction. However, the Ventus Race has always mastered this challenge in the past.”
The variations in temperature are particularly treacherous at the Ardennes Rollercoaster, as the track runs through woodland in some places and temperatures can even be below zero at this time of year. “Similar to the Nürburgring, which is less than 100 kilometres away, the race tyre cools down in some sections of the circuit. This makes it difficult for the drivers to maintain the ideal level of grip. For example, the tyre temperature can drop in the downhill section before Eau Rouge, forcing the drivers to adapt when they accelerate out of the corner,” Manfred Sandbichler explains.
The challenging layout lends itself to a conservative, tyre-friendly set-up with reduced camber. However, the X factor in Spa-Francorchamps is always the weather. A race weekend in the Ardennes without a single drop of rain is a genuine rarity. Hankook’s Motorsport Director: “As the circuit is relatively long and very hilly, the drivers must cope with the fact that, should it rain, some sections will be wet, while others are dry. However, it is precisely these uncertainties that add to the special allure of Spa-Francorchamps, which last hosted the 24H Series powered by Hankook in 2019. I am looking forward to an exciting race, which is sure to be spectacular again.”
Photos: Petr Fryba