C’mon, get a grip

A new tread pat­tern prom­ises bet­ter wet-weather trac­tion

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Market Space - BRUCE McMA­HON bruce.mcma­hon@cars­guide.com.au

A FRESH ap­proach to tyre tread pat­terns de­vel­oped in the US claims to im­prove wet-road trac­tion and sta­bil­ity.

De­signed and patented by Hankook’s tech­ni­cal cen­tre in Ohio, the asym­met­ri­cal Ven­tus V2 Con­cept fea­tures a Twister Sys­tem— the cen­tral chan­nel

‘‘ twists’’ or ‘‘ waves’’ down the mid­dle of the tread rather than run­ning straight.

De­signer Dean Rogers said a cen­tral groove and direc­tional tread, used to help ex­pel wa­ter, also re­duced tyre sta­bil­ity and cre­ated ex­tra wear in the cen­tre.

‘‘ The Twister Sys­tem cre­ates a suf­fi­cient void to evac­u­ate wa­ter, but the wave shape means the main chan­nel is an­gled to­wards the cen­tre of the tyre, avoid­ing the usual wear prob­lems,’’ Rogers said.

Hankook said tests showed a 6 per cent im­prove­ment in wethandling per­for­mance and 3 per cent im­prove­ment in wet­brak­ing dis­tances. It used com­put­ers to help de­sign the V2 Con­cept’s tread for a qui­eter, softer ride.

In Aus­tralia, Hankook, at sev­enth on the sales charts, is aim­ing for fourth spot by 2015, lift­ing its fo­cus on ul­tra high­per­for­mance rub­ber and im­prov­ing its sales net­work.

Among its new rub­ber is the Ven­tus ME01, a high­per­for­mance tyre said to stand up to hot-road run­ning.

Hankook said it used a spe­cially for­mu­lated tread com­pound, with smaller mol­e­cules of car­bon black, for a lighter tyre that does not heat as quickly and had about a third less rolling re­sis­tance than ri­vals.

The Korean com­pany’s global sales rose 16.3 per cent in the first quar­ter of the year; ul­tra high-per­for­mance tyres were up 42.5 per cent on the same pe­riod last year.

Hankook, with 20 per cent of the China mar­ket, con­tin­ues to grow. Hankook took a gam­ble on busi­ness there in 1996 and now sells 17.5 mil­lion tyres a year— a fig­ure it aims to in­crease by open­ing a third tyre plant there by 2015. Softer ride: Hankook Tyre Aus­trali­aGM Paul Park

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