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Title 11/5/2009 - Hankook Tire Announces 2010 Motorsports Sponsorships
Date 11/05/2009 Count 12657

Hankook Tire Announces 2010 Motorsports Sponsorships

Hankook Looks to Carry Winning Standard into 2010 Season

LAS VEGAS, Nov. 5, 2009 - After celebrating its most successful motorsports season to date, Hankook Tire plans to get back on the track in 2010, continuing its participation in professional drifting and time attack competition and re-establishing a contingency reward program for grassroots motorsports enthusiasts.

Hankook’s Formula Drift sponsored drivers climbed onto the podium in six out of seven races in the 2009 season with the successful debut of the Ventus R-S3 high-performance race tire. With six podium finishes last season, the Ventus R-S3 is one of the premier tires in Formula Drift competition. Hankook applied its latest motorsports technology to improve dry-grip performance by 30 percent; further enhancing the tire’s handling capabilities.

In 2010 Hankook will once again sponsor Formula Drift’s Team Papadakis and Dynamic Autosports, and will expand its stable of teams to include Conrad Grunewald Racing. Team driver and owner Conrad Grunewald will drive one of the few American muscle cars in Formula Drift - a 2010 Camaro SS equipped with a set of Hankook Ventus R-S3’s.

“Conrad is a proven drift racer and intense competitor,” said Jason Kim, motorsports marketing manager, Hankook Tire America Corp. “We are confident he will prove to be a valuable addition to our team and will contribute to Hankook’s growing success in motorsports.”

Dynamic Autosports returns with its current driver line-up - 2009 Rookie of Year Eric O’Sullivan, Robbie Nishida and Ryuji Miki. O’Sullivan will pilot the Rockstar Energy Drink/Hankook Tire Subaru WRX Sti, looking to claim his first win in his sophomore season. Robbie Nishida once again will be behind the wheel of Dynamics’ Nissan 350Z while Ryuji Miki will navigate his A'PEXi/Hankook Mazda RX-7.

“Hankook is a valued sponsor, and its racing tires have contributed greatly to our team’s growing success over the duration of our partnership,” said Eddie Kim, owner, Dynamic Autosports. “We look forward to adding to that winning record in 2010. We can’t wait to get Robbie, Eric and Ryuji back on the track with a set of Ventus R-S3’s under them after last season’s breakout performances.”

Hankook also will continue to sponsor former two-time Formula Drift champion Tanner Foust in his Rockstar/Scion tC, as he looks to capture his third Formula Drift title.

In time attack, Hankook’s 2010 driver line-up includes Gary Sheehan from GST Motorsport, Jonathan Bomorito from Sierra Sierra Enterprise and World Racing’s Chris Rado.

All of Hankook’s time attack drivers will compete on Hankook’s Ventus Z214 DOT R Compound tires. The Ventus Z214 DOT R offers a symmetric tread design and utilizes a smooth tread surface with two longitudinal tread grooves for outstanding performance on the circuit in both dry and damp conditions.

“Each year drifting, time attack and grassroots motorsports - including club racing and autocross competitions ? continue to grow and gain popularity in the U.S. and influence the marketplace,” said Bill Bainbridge, director of brand communications, Hankook Tire America Corp. “This is in spite of these challenging economic times. Hankook will continue to be a leading next-generation tire maker in this arena, producing class-leading technology and delivering cutting-edge products like the Ventus R-S3 and Ventus Z214 to meet the demands of enthusiast consumers.”

Details of Hankook’s 2010 contingency rewards programs for SCCA and NASA members will be announced in January.

About Hankook Tire America Corp.
Headquartered in Wayne, N.J., Hankook Tire America Corp. is a technology-focused, market-driven company that markets and distributes a complete line of high performance and ultra-high performance passenger tires, light truck, SUV tires, as well as medium truck and bus tires to more than 400 independent dealers through 3000+ retail sales locations in the United States and Canada.

For more information, please visit the Hankook website at www.hankooktireusa.com.

Media Contacts:
On-site contact information for SEMA Show follows. Please stop by Hankook’s booth #41045.

Bill Bainbridge Jeff Wandell
Director of Brand Communication Assistant Account Executive
Hankook Tire America Corp Weber Shandwick
Cell: 570-236-7517 Cell: 810-869-0954
wbainbridge@hankooktireusa.com jwandell@webershandwick.com

Formula Drift Sponsored Drivers

Conrad Grunewald
While 2010 marks Grunewald’s second full season in Formula Drift, he is no stranger to drifting having competed in numerous races since 2004. Grunewald’s first year of drifting was in the D1 series in 2004, where he was one of twelve drivers representing the USA in the USA vs. Japan shootout. In 2005 and 2006, Conrad focused his attention on Formula Drift, which was quickly becoming the premier drifting series in the United States. He was given the opportunity in 2007 to run a full Formula Drift season in a Nissan 240SX, but declined to drive American muscle for a partial season piloting a Corvette Z06. Conrad posted a 4th place finish for his team’s inaugural event in 2007.

Tanner Foust
Foust finished sixth in overall points in the 2009 Formula Drift season on Hankook Tires, including a first place finish at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Foust is a winning competitor in rally, drift, ice racing and time attack with a proven track record of multiple podium placements and national championships. Foust has seen huge success in drift and rally in the last few seasons. In addition to winning the 2008 Formula Drift Pro Drift Championship, repeating his 2007 Championship, he also took the Silver medal as runner up in the 2008 Summer X Games Pro Rally race. Tanner won the 2007 X Games Gold Medal in the Pro Rally for the Rockstar Energy Rally team, beating factory Subaru team members, Ken Block and BMX legend Travis Pastrana.

Robbie Nishida
Nishida finished eighth in overall points in 2009, marking his most successful season in Formula Drift to date. Nishida, who has been drifting professionally since 1998, returns in 2010 as driver of Dynamic Autosports’ Nissan 350Z in the Formula Drift series. Some of his career highlights include placing first at a Battle Magazine single drift event at Nikko Circuit and finishing sixth in a Battle Magazine Championship Drift round.

Eric O’Sullivan
2009 Formula Drift Rookie of the Year Eric O’Sullivan is one of the series’ most charismatic front runners. O’Sullivan is recognized as a European drifting pioneer and a successful ambassador for this new and exciting sport. With strong links to the extreme/action sport community, O’Sullivan brings a unique style and attitude to motorsport circuits all over the world. Fearless driving skills combined with a professional team approach have earned him a large international following while remaining competitive amongst the best drivers and teams in Europe.

Ryuji Miki
Miki is a drifter who hails from Tottori Prefecture, Japan. Miki captures the D1 Grand Prix championship in 2004 driving the Top Secret Silvia S15. Miki also competed in the Net’z Cup, a one make series for the Toyota Altezza between 2005 and its final season in 2006.

Time Attack Sponsored Drivers

Gary Sheehan
In April 2006, Sheehan made his World Challenge GT racing debut in a Subaru Impreza WRX STi at the Long Beach Grand Prix. This marked the first time that a Subaru STi raced in the extremely fast GT class. The race car, crew and driver were fan favorites during the entire Long Beach event. In 2008, Sheehan beat out the CWest/BC team to become the Redline Time Attack Togue series winner.

Jonathan Bomorito
Bomarito, an American racing driver from Monterey, Calif., began his career in karting. He moved on to compete in the Formula Ford 200 USA where he won the championship in 2003. The next year he moved to the Atlantic Championship and finished ninth in points. The following year he captured his first series win and finished fifth in the championship. In 2008 he was the series runner-up capturing three series victories. He also drove in the 2008 and 2009 editions of the 24 Hours of Daytona in a Mazda RX-8.

Chris Rado
Rado is a professional racing driver from the United States and is chiefly noted for his participation in import drag racing. Rado previously drove a factory backed Scion tC in the Pro FWD category in the NHRA Sports Compact series for his own team, WORLD Racing, in addition to other series such as the NOPI Drag Racing Series and Battle of the Imports. Rado recently made the move up to the prestigious Redline Time Attack Unlimited RWD category. In 2008, Rado captured the Redline Time Attack Unlimited FWS championship.

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