A balanced set-up is key to success at a hot Hungaroring

This weekend’s trip to the Hungaroring sees premium tyre maker Hankook and the DTM venture outside Germany for the first time in 2018. The 4.381-kilometre circuit to the northeast of the Hungarian capital, Budapest, will host races five and six of the season in what is probably the most popular international touring car series.

Motorsports: DTM race Budapest, Saison 2017 - 3. Event Hungaroring, HU

The DTM is set to make its fifth appearance at the Hungaroring, at which Mercedes-Benz driver Paul Di Resta and René Rast (Audi) were victorious last year. The circuit is located 20 kilometres outside Budapest, close to Hankook’s state-of-the-art European factory in Rácalmás, making this a home event for the tyre sponsor. The racetrack is located in a valley, which explains why it is also known as “The Shallow Plate”. This topography suits the spectators, as they are able to see roughly 80 percent of the track from the grandstands. However, the location in a natural basin does make for extremely high ambient and track temperatures when the sun shines – a challenge that the Hankook Ventus Race tyre for the DTM has always overcome without any problems in the past.

With 14 corners and many narrow sections, overtaking is far from easy at the Hungarian circuit. The best opportunity is the sharp right-hander at the end of the 800-metre start-finish straight. “The layout of the Hungaroring, with its many slow sections and corners of varying speed, requires a balanced set-up. You have to get the tyre pressures right, in order to take full advantage of the Ventus Race’s high grip levels and to accelerate quickly out of the slow areas. The driving style also has to be right. It is important not to drive too aggressively, but to let the car roll and stay on the racing line,” explains Hankook’s Chief DTM Engineer, Thomas Baltes.

Located as it is in a valley, the 4.381-kilometre stretch of asphalt can attract a lot of dust and dirt both before and during the race weekend. As a result, the cars collect a lot of pickup. This, together with the amount of braking and accelerating, can cause the Hankook race tyre to heat up more than usual. Thomas Baltes: “With a good set-up and the right air pressure, it is possible to avoid the tyres overheating and the wear that this can cause. On the whole, the strain placed on the tyres at the Hungaroring is about average compared to other DTM circuits, whereby the Ventus Race’s running surface is put under greater strain than the construction of the tyre.”