The 3.908-kilometre demanding track surrounded by nature at Brands Hatch leads through woodland, has six right turns and three left turns, as well as narrow, angular sections. The track surface has a medium level of grip. “Unlike on the smooth, closed asphalt in Assen, the tyres interlock with the track surface at Brands Hatch much better. This means that there is not as much strain on the tread. However, the powerful turbo engines mean that the tyres are put under great strain when accelerating out of the slower sections,” explained Hankook’s DTM race engineer Thomas Baltes.
Another feature of the iconic English track is the great differences in altitude. From the highest point on the start-finish straight, the cars go through the ultrafast Paddock Hill Bend turn into a dip. This is followed by an uphill section and the subsequent Druids hairpin bend, the slowest section of the track. Thomas Baltes: “Like on the Nordschleife at the Nürburgring, there are many uphill and downhill sections at Brands Hatch, which are driven through at great speed. The arising compression increases the strain, which already affects the construction of the Ventus Race through the aerodynamics. The turns that are very fast in places and the high kerbs, which are driven over at top speed, also increase the stress level for the Hankook racing tyres.”
When tuning the car, the asymmetric track layout at Brands Hatch needs to be considered and a compromise found that enables high top speed while maintaining maximum traction. “We have twice as many right-hand turns as left-hand turns, which puts more strain on the front left tyre. This one-sided strain can be reduced with the appropriate car set-up. The long straights mean that the tuning also needs to be aiming for top speed, while also enabling a lot of traction in the narrow sections. Which is why Brands Hatch will be a real challenge for teams, drivers and the Hankook racing tyres once again,” said the Hankook DTM race engineer.
As part of the supporting programme of the DTM, the season finale of the W Series will also be held at Brands Hatch, which is also supplied with racing tyres exclusively by premium maker Hankook.