If you want to really get a sense of what is going on with a company, read stories about them in the foreign media. Reliable foreign media, like South Korea’s Financial Times, which recently gave us an inside look at Hankook Tire Co.’s ambitious racing plans:
“British racing driver Paul di Resta has used his championship victory in last year’s Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters to propel his career into Formula One this year.
“South Korea’s Hankook Tire has similar ambitions.
“It will replace Dunlop as the official tire supplier to DTM, a Europe-wide tour of 10 races, from next month. It sees this as a springboard for succeeding Pirelli as the F1 supplier from 2014, when the Italian company’s three-year contract ends.
“Pushing to win greater Asian sponsorship, Bernie Ecclestone, F1’s commercial supremo, invited Hankook to supply F1 tires last year. Cho Hyun-bum, the company’s chief financial officer, regretted that Ecclestone’s eight-month time frame made it “physically impossible” to build the required extra capacity but vowed Hankook would be ready next time.
“‘We are keen to do it and DTM is a logical stepping stone,’ he says.
“Hankook is targeting blue-ribboned motorsport to address its greatest commercial weakness: poor brand value in developed markets. Cho concedes that DTM and F1 are not profitable in terms of tire sales, but are priceless for its attempt to narrow the gap with Michelin and Bridgestone in premium markets, where margins are more alluring.
“Cho says this year’s DTM deal marks a critical shift in the tire business as it is the first time a significant race series has picked an emerging economy player. As Hankook will be supplying tires to major German automakers for the races, Cho expects this will give him an inroad to supply performance tires for the manufacturers’ new cars.”
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Speaking of motorsport and Formula One, Rafael Navarro, head of Pirelli Tire North Americas marketing and motorsports, has been one busy man since last summer.
First he helped navigate Pirelli’s return to F1 racing, then he sharpened his pencil to facilitate finding and decorating PTNA’s new New York City digs. This year, he has been carrying the Pirelli flag with F1 events including planning for this year’s Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal and following his son’s efforts in the Pirelli World Challenge Championships.
Seventeen-year-old Rafael Navarro IV will run his second PWCC race, piloting a Volkswagen GTI Turbo in the Touring Car Class at this weekend’s run at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City.
The younger Navarro has had a pretty good run thus far this season, posting top 10 times in practice. Miles and miles and miles of practice have served him well as he works his way through the racing world. Dad has been pulling a lot of miles, too, trying to follow his son’s career.