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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Hankook’s System E journey into the unknown

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The System E Championship entered a brand new period this season because the all-electric sequence hit the observe with the Gen3 automobile, which promised better efficiency in a number of areas over its predecessor.

However the brand new machine was not the one new facet to the championship, as Hankook arrived because the class’s sole tyre provider. The South Korean producer had huge footwear to fill changing Michelin, which had provided rubber to System E since its inception in 2014.

Whereas the title on the facet of the tyre might have been completely different, the aim was the identical – for use in all climate circumstances and temperatures, in addition to on varied surfaces. It’s a problem made even better as a result of beforehand unknown portions of the Gen3 machine, and simply how a lot efficiency it had gained over the earlier iteration of automobile.

“This was the massive problem as a result of we began nearly from zero once we began our improvement work, and there was no automobile accessible in any respect,” says Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook’s European motorsport director. “It meant we needed to undergo it differently to get the primary impressions after which, as quickly as the primary automobile was prepared, we adjusted the tyre to the automobile.

“We had been just about happy with the primary run and from this second the main focus was on fine-tuning to search out the correct compound, to have the correct stability from the rear axle and naturally additionally the correct stability between dry and moist. However this was an actual problem to search out and subsequently compliments to our engineers and technical staff to search out this in a very brief time, as a result of the time interval for testing was additionally very a lot restricted.”

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This time interval with the Gen3 automobile was the equal of “nearly half a yr”, in accordance with Sandbichler. Not lengthy to make sure that the tyre was able to withstanding vastly completely different circumstances.

The 2 extremes in the course of the season got here solely a spherical aside, because the deluge that hit the season finale on the London E-Prix adopted simply two weeks after the heatwave in Rome. The Hankook tyre got here by in each circumstances, and maybe extra impressively there have been no failures or punctures outdoors of these attributable to accident injury in the course of the season.

“It was very tough to develop the tyre for all these circumstances as a result of you may have just one set of tyre, you can’t have a moist and slick,” says three-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Benoit Treluyer, System E’s check driver who was integral to the Hankook tyre’s improvement.

Manfred Sandbichler was pleased with Hankook’s first season supplying tyres in System E

Photograph by: Motorsport Images

“You could make a tyre match to each situation, each temperature, in order that was demanding and it’s important to do compromise. For certain we might have gotten a greater tyre within the moist situation however that might have compromised the dry.

“We will all the time enhance, that is one thing that everyone is aware of, however for the primary yr I believe it’s a actually good end result and I’m fairly pleased with what we now have performed.”

However whereas Hankook was pleased with the efficiency on-track, there had been small points off it. Not least a manufacturing unit fireplace in South Korea, which though had no affect on the availability of tyres to System E definitely brought on disruption for the corporate. It ceased its provide of rubber to the Euroformula Open championship in consequence.

“Individuals have realised, perhaps we are able to do a greater job in exploiting the utmost out of the product” Nico Muller

In System E, a variety of drivers additionally voiced their displeasure in the direction of the beginning of the season, claiming the brand new rubber to be too laborious in contrast with what that they had beforehand used with Michelin. However as Abt Cupra driver Nico Muller identified, “when the voices disappear, it’s an excellent signal” after preliminary criticism subsided.

“Individuals have realised, perhaps we are able to do a greater job in exploiting the utmost out of the product,” he says. “They usually obtained to a stage the place they most likely realised it’s really working fairly effectively and we now have circumstances that shall be utterly completely different all through the season.

“Sure, while you go to Valencia and you’ve got in thoughts what you’ve got performed with an {old} automobile earlier than and also you search for the final little element, you would possibly assume, ‘It could have been good to undergo Flip 1 with 10km/h extra’. However then over the course of the yr that loses its relevance and the main focus shifts. The temper in respect to the tyre is nice. I don’t hear anybody complaining anymore.”

Hankook has already confirmed that the very same tyre shall be used in the course of the 2024 marketing campaign, which is because of get beneath method with pre-season testing in Valencia in the course of the week beginning 23 October. However whereas no adjustments shall be introduced in for that season, focus is already shifting to the next marketing campaign, when an evolution of the present automobile, ‘Gen3.5’, will hit the observe.

An uprated model of the Gen3 automobile was utilized in London as Jake Hughes set a brand new indoor land pace document, and it featured a softer compound of Hankook tyre, which could be an indication of issues to return. As ever, Hankook’s objective shall be to discover a stability between efficiency, sturdiness and above all security because it continues its journey in System E.

Formula E drivers will continue to use the same specification of Hankook tyre in the upcoming season

System E drivers will proceed to make use of the identical specification of Hankook tyre within the upcoming season

Photograph by: Motorsport Images

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