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Title 04/08/2010 - Hankook Tire Begins Quest for 2010 Formula Drift Championship
Date 04/09/2010 Count 14908

Hankook Tire Begins Quest for 2010 Formula Drift Championship

Hankook Tire Debuts New Driver, Vehicles on Streets of Long Beach
Readies for Formula Drift Opener, Looks to Repeat 2009 Success

WAYNE, N.J. April 8, 2010- Hankook Tire is getting back on the track this weekend for the kick-off of Formula Drift’s 2010 season in Long Beach, Calif., where Hankook will introduce a new race team and attempt to carry its convincing 2009 Formula Drift results into the 2010 season.

This year Hankook has expanded its stable of teams to include Conrad Grunewald Racing. Driver and team owner Conrad Grunewald will drive one of the few American muscle cars in Formula Drift ? a 2010 Camaro SS outfitted with Hankook Ventus R-S3s.

“Conrad has a reputation as an intense competitor and brings a different element to our racing line-up with his R-S3 equipped Camaro,” said Jason Kim, motorsports marketing manager, Hankook Tire America Corp. “After our success in Formula Drift last year, we are confident Conrad’s addition to the team will take Hankook racing even further in all fronts, complementing our already strong list of pro drivers.”

Hankook is once again sponsoring Team Papadakis and Dynamic Autosports. Papadakis team members include the 2007 and 2008 Formula Drift champion Tanner Foust and returning for Dynamic Autosports will be Robbie Nishida, Eric O’Sullivan and Ryuji Miki.

“Our 2010 team is our best yet,” said Kim. “Our participation in the premier drifting competition in North America is a way of demonstrating our technology and also our most significant investment in professional motorsports here in the U.S.”

In 2009, Hankook’s Formula Drift sponsored drivers climbed onto the podium in six out of seven races, all using Hankook Ventus R-S3 high-performance race tires. In 2009, the first year the Hankook Ventus R-S3 was used in competition, its on-track success of six podium finishes established Hankook’s latest race tire as 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. Additionally, the profile was developed to maximize the footprint contact patch.

“As our performance tires continue to gain popularity and make their mark on the track, Hankook is looking to give consumers an extra incentive to purchase these products,” said Bill Bainbridge, director of brand communication, Hankook Tire America Corp. “That’s one of the reasons why Hankook is offering consumer rebates on three of its top performance products with the ‘Great Catch’ rebate. The rebate provides a great investment opportunity for our consumers by delivering a high-quality, high-value street tire with an industry-leading warranty.”

The ‘Great Catch’ Mail-in Rebate program is available to consumers who purchase four select tires of any size between April 1, 2010 and May 31, 2010 from an authorized Hankook retailer. The tires included in the rebate program are the Ventus V12 evo, the Ventus V4 ES and the Optimo H727.

Along with the rebate offer, Hankook also is offering consumers an opportunity to enter a random drawing and a chance to win a new 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, no purchase necessary, as part of the ‘Great Catch’ Car Giveaway. On or about July 10, one lucky grand prize winner will be selected. Information about both the ‘Great Catch’ rebate and car giveaway can be found on the Hankook Tire America website at www.hankooktireusa.com/greatcatch.

About Hankook Tire Co., Ltd

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:
Bill Bainbridge
Director of Brand Communication
Hankook Tire America Corp
Phone: 973-633-9000 x 531
Cindy Kamerad
Account Director
Weber Shandwick
Phone: 248-203-8112
Jeff Wandell
Account Executive
Weber Shandwick
Phone: 248-203-8096

Formula Drift Sponsored Drivers

Conrad Grunewald
Grunewald will be taking the reigns of his Camaro SS in 2010 powered by American muscle and equipped with Hankook Ventus R-S3 rubber. 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 12 drivers representing the U.S. in the USA vs. Japan shootout. In 2005 and 2006, Grunewald focused his attention on Formula Drift, which was quickly becoming the premier drifting series in the United States. In 2007, Grunewald had a chance to drive a Nissan 240SX for a full season, but instead opted to pilot an American muscle Corvette Z06 in a partial season. He posted a fourth place finish his inaugural run in the Corvette.

Tanner Foust
Foust is bringing back his Scion tC for another run at the 2010 Formula Drift Pro Drift Championship. 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
This Formula Drift season, Nishida debuts the eagerly awaited Nissan GTR, powered by Dynamic Autosports and tamed on Hankook Ventus R-S3 rubber. Nishida finished eighth in overall points in 2009, marking his most successful season in Formula Drift to-date. Nishida has been drifting professionally since 1998. 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
Hankook sponsored 2009 Formula Drift Rookie of the Year Eric O’Sullivan is one of the series’ most charismatic front runners and is bringing back the tried-and-true 2004 Subaru WRX STi for another season. O’Sullivan is recognized as a European drifting pioneer and a successful ambassador for drifting. With strong links to the extreme/action sport community, O’Sullivan brings a unique style and attitude to motorsports 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
Actions speak louder than words and Miki is back to continue his return to prominence in 2010 in his Mazda RX-7, on a set of Hankook Ventus R-S3 tires. Miki hails from Tottori Prefecture, Japan and captured 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.

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