Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110 . Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Brian Early
Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110
Toronto, Ontario – Hankook may just be the largest tire company that you’ve never heard of. Established in 1941 and presently the seventh largest tire manufacturer in the world, South Korea-based Hankook counts major automakers such as General Motors, Ford, Dodge, Volkswagen, Brabus-Smart, and Hyundai/Kia among its customers; chances are that if you own a late-model Chevy Aveo or Optra, Ford Econoline or F150, Saturn Ion, or any newer Hyundai product, you already own a set of Hankooks.
Hankook Ventus R-S3 Z222 (left) and Ventus V12 evo K110 (right). Click image to enlarge
As a working mechanic, my first exposure to Hankook tires occurred in the late nineties, as my then-new employer favoured the company’s mainstream “Mileage Plus” all-season tire line, a product with which we had very positive results. Although I’m no longer working there, my current employer also carries Hankook tires (along with several other competitive brands), and I still can’t really say anything bad about Hankook’s products – my own daily driver currently wears a set of Hankook Optimo H727s, part of my ongoing experiment with various brands.
While a relative latecomer to the performance tire segment, officially bringing its first true race tire to North America in 2003, Hankook appears to be a quick learner, clearly using its considerable global motorsports involvement (supplying teams in Le Mans competitions on three continents, for example) as a technology test-bed. Forming a strategic alliance with Michelin in 2003 didn’t hurt either.
Much as Bridgestone has its Potenza line of performance tires, Goodyear its Eagle family, and Michelin its Pilot range, Hankook labels its high performance products as “Ventus”, and the latest member of the company’s Ventus line is the V12 evo K110, a directional, summer-only product that belongs to the same “ultra high performance” sub-segment as the Pirelli P Zero Nero, Toyo Proxes T1-R, Goodyear Eagle F1, BFGoodrich G-Force T/A KDW, and Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport, among others.
Hankook Ventus R-S3 Z222 (left) and Ventus V12 evo K110 (left). Click image to enlarge
It slots into the Ventus range between the R-S3 Z222 “extreme performance summer” (basically a streetable race tire) and the recently introduced V4 ES H105, which Hankook considers an all-season ultra high performance tire (the “Z” seemingly denoting “race”, “K” summer, and “H” all-season passenger car tires).
As such, the V12 evo K110 effectively replaces the Ventus Sport K104, which was already a decent tire. Hankook lists several key improvements in the new model; 3D tread block edges that optimize how they deform under load; reformulated high silica tread rubber compounds and increased drainage siping, improving wet traction and resistance to hydroplaning; and a redesigned carcass (the structure of the tire itself), which leads to a more stable, more evenly distributed contact patch, to the benefit of dry traction, more linear response, and reduced wear.