Fusing the limited MINI John Cooper Works GP production of just 3,000 units, with Hankook’s all-new Ultra-Ultra-High Performance (UUHP) summer tyre, the Ventus S1 Evo Z, the partnership offers drivers a chance to meet the need for speed. For those looking to test the performance of the MINI John Cooper Works GP, Hankook also provides the Ventus TD (Track Day), a road-legal sports tyre, designed to check out the car’s core abilities on the racetrack. To ensure the new high-end MINI can be safely driven during the cold season, Hankook’s UHP winter tyre I*cept evo 2 was added to the tyre line-up.
The Fastest MINI on the Market
With the development engineers of Hankook and MINI taking extra care with both the car and the summer tyres – the Ventus S1 evo Z as well as the Ventus TD, tests are ready to commence at the Nardo, Italy and the Nürburgring Nordschleife race tracks. As 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, an outstanding handling performance is to be expected. With the best lap times, as well dry braking capabilities a key priority within the development focus for all three tyres, Hankook are delighted to offer these elements as key features. “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 centre 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 an exciting preview for the Hankook UUHP tyre generation to come. The Ventus S1 Evo Z marks a new era in the high-end-tyre portfolio expected of both Hankook and the highly demanding sports cars, which require extra grip and cornering qualities whilst retaining 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 Exclusive Hankook Tyre for the MINI
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.
With, many companies unwilling to explain the complexity chemistry behind their tyre construction, the engineers of the Hankook Ventus TD have made an exception by sharing 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.
The MINI John Cooper Works GP should not be stored in the garage over winter, as the company’s ultra-high-performance cold weather tyre, the 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 surfaces.