Bid for Supercars
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.