C’mon, get a grip
A new tread pattern promises better wet-weather traction
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