Bid for Su­per­cars

NT News - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE - By MARK HINCH­LIFFE www.nt­news.com.au

FOR­MULA One race cars and V8 Su­per­cars could one day be run­ning on Korean rub­ber.

Hankook chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Hyun Bum Cho last year said he had held talks with F1 boss Bernie Ec­cle­stone about sup­ply­ing tyres to the premier motorsport cat­e­gory.

How­ever, the first ma­jor motorsport cat­e­gory to be run­ning on Korean rub­ber will be the Ger­man tour­ing car se­ries, DTM.

The com­pany has an­nounced an ex­clu­sive three-year con­tract with DTM, in­clud­ing Audi, Mercedes and the newBMWteams.

The sev­enth-biggest tyre man­u­fac­turer in the world plans to move into other ma­jor rac­ing cat­e­gories in the next few years, pos­si­bly in­clud­ing V8 Su­per­cars.

Cho, who launched the South Korean com­pany’s motorsport pro­gram 10 years ago, said the com­pany, which spends about 3 per cent of its sales rev­enue on mar­ket­ing, needed to be­come in­volved in the ‘‘top cat­e­gories’’ of world mo­tor­sports.

‘‘Right now we have a lit­tle Le Mans team and some rally teams here and there,’’ he said.

‘‘The world­wide motorsport mar­ket is about two mil­lion (tyres) a year, which is quite profitable be­cause motorsport tyres are quite ex­pen­sive. So we need to be in WRC, F1 or the top end of Le Mans.

‘‘In fu­ture we need to be in those but it will cost a lot of money.’’

Hankook Tyre Aus­tralia mar­ket­ing man­ager Jose An­ge­les hints that the V8 Su­per­car ‘‘Car of the Fu­ture’’ to be in­tro­duced 2013 could also run on their tyres.

‘‘The 17-inch tyre cur­rently used by V8 Su­per­cars is an ‘or­phan’ size in the world of motorsport,’’ he says.

‘‘When that changes to an 18-inch with the new regs and tyre con­tract com­menc­ing in 2013, it opens up the op­por­tu­nity for other tyre brands to bid for the con­tract.

‘‘Be­com­ing in­volved with a large motorsport se­ries in Aus­tralia would be a way of demon­strat­ing our tech­ni­cal abil­ity.

‘‘So part­ner­ing with a prov­ing ground like V8 Su­per­cars is cer­tainly some­thing on Hankook’s radar,’’ An­ge­les said.

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