The development engineers of Hankook and MINI took extra care that the car and both summer tyres, the Ventus S1 evo Z as well as the Ventus TD, are up for a challenge by checking their race qualities at the demanding race tracks in Nardo, Italy and the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife. The new MINI John Cooper Works GP is the British brand’s fastest model to ever be approved for road use – the 306hp engine accelerates from nought to 100km/h in just 5.2 seconds. Outstanding handling performance, the best lap times as well as impressive dry braking capabilities are key features that have been a developmental focus for all three tyres Hankook supplies to this extraordinary MINI model. “To be the sole supplier to this rarity with racing genes was not only a big honour and a big responsibility – it also met with a lot of passion in our developers’ team,” says Klaus Krause, head of the European research and development center at Hankook.
While all the tyres are specifically developed and adapted for this high-end MINI, the Hankook Ventus S1 Evo Z is so new, it gives a preview into a Hankook UUHP tyre generation to come. The Ventus S1 Evo Z marks a new era in Hankook’s high-end-tyre portfolio streamlined for highly demanding sports cars that need the extra bit of grip and cornering qualities, without compromising durability and safety. For this tyre, Hankook used a newly developed silica enriched compound mixture, which undergoes a slower curing process with low temperature vulcanisation, in order to increase the blending of those molecules that influence the driving performance. The result is a tread compound which is bespoke for sports cars, representing the top of their range, such as in this case the MINI John Cooper Works GP.
An asymmetric pattern and contact area maximise the cornering performance. Special attention has been given to the outer edge of the tyre pattern as it receives the highest amount of cornering stress. The centre grooves are reduced to three instead of four to increase the contact area and therefore push the handling performance to the best outcome, while still taking care of a safe drainage system for rainy days. The pattern void volume and block stiffness are set along the tread area for this purpose so that the tread blocks work at their best in various driving conditions. Aramid substitutes the conventional nylon cord offering the best stability and outstanding durability to conquer the huge strain acceleration and breaking forces imposed on the tyre, minimising the belt deflection in the contact patch during cornering. While being extra sporty, the tyre also offers a reasonable amount of comfort. Currently, the Hankook Ventus S1 evo Z is solely produced for the MINI John Cooper Works GP, with more sizes to follow soon, mainly for the original equipment of high-end sports cars.
Usually, a racing tyre is full of top-secret ingredients and construction know-how that is kept away from the public. But with the Hankook Ventus TD the engineers make an exception and share some of the secrets. As one of its biggest assets, it comes with all the necessary labels to make sure the MINI John Cooper Works can be legally driven from the car park straight to the racetrack via public roads without additional transport or tyre changes. It comprises the E4 mark, the EU tyre Label for wet grip, rolling resistance and noise, as well as the Taiwan, Brazil, Gulf States and DOT plus UTQG (USA) certificates. To develop its full potential on the racing circuit and still be a reliable partner on standard roads was the main challenge Hankook’s engineers had to tackle. The result of this development process is a tyre which offers excellent stability even under limited driving conditions. Braking capabilities are evenly balanced with traction and control properties. While the pattern concept and design are mainly based on a standard racing tyre, the Ventus TD version developed for MINI is applied with compound and structure features, unifying technologies from racing and standard road-tyres. The specially designed contour utilises a wide tread area to provide the maximum grip for best lap time and performance on the track. Even though the performance on dry surfaces was prioritised, the tread pattern ensures the tyre’s readiness for performing in the wet as well.
A car like the MINI John Cooper Works GP should not be condemned to the garage in winter, so the company’s ultra-high-performance cold weather tyre Hankook Winter i*cept evo 2 with its sophisticated asymmetrical tread design rounds off the MINI’s original equipment line-up. The tyre is specially developed for the winter road conditions in Central and Western Europe and ensures good handling abilities on wet and dry roads, as well as good traction and braking performance even on snowy surface