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iON X Formula E Season 9, On the fast track towards sustainability

The ninth season of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship which began with the 2023 Hankook Mexico City E-Prix concluded with the 2023 Hankook London E-Prix in a spectacular finale. Hankook Tire played a pivotal role in the achievement of various new records, starting with the iON racing tire developed for the game at the event site. This innovation attracted the attention of fans and related industries from all over the world. Simultaneously, we presented a variety of sustainability-focused programs, setting the stage for the next chapter in the motorsports market.

Formula E’s ninth race in a world-class city

The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is an electric vehicle racing series held by the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), originating in 2014. It is the world's first electric vehicle racing competition, aligning with its fundamental mission of accelerating human progress through the power of electric racing. This championship is the world's first net-zero carbon sport.

What sets it apart from the conventional motorsports is that it has sustainability and innovation at the heart of the championship in addition to predominantly racing in urban-centric city center race tracks. The ninth season of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, which was held in 2023, kicked off in Mexico City, and continued on to Diriyah and Hyderabad. The remaining races were held in Cape Town, São Paulo, Berlin, Monaco, Jakarta, Portland, Rome, and London.

  • The S9 championship was won by Jake Dennis of Avalanche Andretti Formula E, who became the first British Formula E world champion. In the team field, Envision Racing won the championship.

Formula E S9 Meets Hankook Tire’s iON

All Formula E S9 athletes raced through each city circuit equipped with Formula E 3rd Generation (GEN3) vehicles and iON, a specialized electric vehicle racing tire exclusively produced by Hankook Tire. For the past 20 years, our company has been a prominent participant in leading motorsports competitions such as Lamborghini Super Trofeo, 24H Series, and Brazil’s Stock Car Pro Series. Now, with our exclusive tire supply, we are taking on the challenge of the new field in electric vehicle racing.

Even for tire manufacturers with established technological capabilities in motorsports, the challenges presented by Formula E are formidable. When Formula E selects a supplier, it undergoes a comprehensive environmental impact assessment, known as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), evaluating not only tire supply capacity and economic response, but also the entire process from production and processing. The company evaluates everything from the carbon dioxide consumption emitted during the logistics production process to the environmental impact at the time of construction of the research center that produces the racing tires.

Above all, the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship uses a single standard all-weather tire, as opposed to F1, which has multiple compounds for each race, qualifying and practice session. In addition, in this Formula E S9, a new race car called GEN3, the third generation of Formula E, boasting increased vehicle output to 350kW, was introduced. As a result, it was necessary to develop an ultra-high-performance tire that would meet a wide range of conditions including maintaining grip despite the strong initial torque of the electric motor and corner speed and lateral acceleration during high-speed driving.

Despite such challenging conditions, Hankook Tire was able to join Formula E, leveraging not only its extensive history in innovative tire technology, but also its unwavering commitment to eco-friendly practices ranging from tire manufacturing and brand operation to research institute construction.

A New Feat of ‘achieving new records in a row’
Making history in Formula E

Hankook Tire celebrated a successful inaugural year in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. Notably, the lap time in the Monaco E-Prix was reduced by more than 1 second, and a new Guinness Book of World Records was achieved in the Indoor Land Speed Record category with a maximum speed of 218.7 km/h. The Indoor Land Speed Record event showcases racers competing to record the highest speed on the final straight of the track within the London ExCel Centre and is a stage where the performance of vehicles and tires can be highlighted.

  • The Indoor Land Speed Record was conducted by driving on the 346m straight course inside the London ExCel circuit. Among the drivers who took on the challenge, Jake Hughes entered the Guinness Book of Records by recording a top speed of 218.7 km/h, which is about 55 km/h faster than the previous record.

In addition, history was made at the 2023 Cape Town E-Prix in South Africa when we recorded the fastest race in Formula E’s history during round 5, boasting an average speed of 132.199 km/h. This achievement was further cemented during round 12 of the 2023 Southwire Portland E-Prix in the United States where a new record of 276.6 km/h was set for the fastest speed ever made during a practice race. iON, a racing tire specially crafted by Hankook Tire, played a pivotal role in the creation of these records. By applying new compound technology to our tires, the vehicle's warm-up time is shortened, and tire grip is maximized.

Hankook Tire X Formula E
Sustainable activity for the next era of motorsports

Sustainability has been a key focus for Formula E, which has devised measures and strategies for not only the sustainability of motorsports but also the mutual advancement of society. Hankook Tire, in alignment with these objectives, has also taken proactive steps to protect the environment by manufacturing racing tires supplied to the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship with eco-friendly materials and collecting and recycling all tires used in the race when finished.

Best Fan Experience of the Year Award Grand Prize Winner

At the Best Fan Experience of Year award, Hankook Tire won great praise for its theme of ‘Sustainability.’

Hankook Tire amplified the thrill of the race by operating various online and offline experiential programs under the theme of sustainability during Formula E S9. As a result of these efforts, approximately 25,000 fans within Formula E's fan festival program were attracted to the Allianz Fan Village, which won the Best Fan Experience of the Year Award. We are proud to be the first sponsor to receive this distinction among those operating brand exhibition halls within Allianz Fan Village.

The fact that it uses an urban circuit in the middle of a city rather than a circuit dedicated to motorsports far from a city center not only makes the events more accessible than before, but also allows communication with motorsports fans from all over the world. This accessibility generates revenue that contributes to the growth of local communities. Our company has thoughtfully created programs designed to maximize the value of Formula E’s unique attributes to attract the utmost value.

Within Formula E S9, we are excited to present a diverse range of activities including upcycling products using tires, campaigns for the common growth of society, and collaborations with global artists that add visual flair to an event.

1. Tires become skateboards and travel deep into the city

Tires that have reached the end of their life cycle undergo a shredding process and can find new life in public designs such as sidewalk blocks, tracks, and public benches. This is an appealing approach because tires that are crushed and then granulated are cost-effective while maintaining all the technical properties of rubber like grip, durability, elasticity, flexibility, impact resistance, and traction. Hankook Tire is actively engaged in an upcycling initiative called re:move ensuring that tire materials continue to serve a purpose and are reused even after they have been used as tires.

  • An upcycled longboard co-produced with 2B Craft, a domestic handmade longboard manufacturer.

The upcycled longboard is an outstanding product created through the re:move project, and is characterized by extending the inherent advantages of the tire itself to skateboards. The scaffolding is made by the recycled tire rubber sheets, and the wheels are made from eco-friendly algae oil-based bio-polyurethane jointly developed with Checkerspot, a California-based life science company. In addition to its functional advantages, this also increases its eco-friendly value.

In addition to product development, Hankook Tire has also embraced a new marketing approach harnessing the dynamism of the skateboard material itself. We have strategic plans to sell upcycled longboards through collaborations with popular street scene brands like VANS and Peaches. These collaborations would allow us to create unique connections where skateboarders around the world can transition from riding eco-friendly skateboards to experiencing the world of Formula E and Hankook Tire.

2. Adding visual fun through collaboration with global artists

Hankook Tire is expanding its digital presence through exciting collaborations with global artists, ensuring that not only motorsports fans, but individuals from diverse backgrounds, can enjoy the games from anywhere. By introducing a virtual influencer called Mono Mars, a Mars exploration robot concept that is interested in protecting the Earth's environment, we were able to introduce the Formula E experience to the digital world. In a collaboration in the same vein, illustrator Na Jin-seong reinterpreted street culture and retro concepts with a trendy sensibility.

  • Digital content, including collaboration works with artist Jin-seong Na, can be found on Hankook Tire's official SNS channels.

In April 2023, we unveiled the first work expressing Hankook Tire and its electric vehicle racing tire iON in vivid dynamic artwork against the backdrop of the vibrant racing track of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. The following work was released to overwhelmingly positive responses and captured the touching victory and joy after a racing match with the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship featuring a podium in the background.

3. FIA Girls on Track, an experiential venue to enhance diversity in the motorsports field

FIA Girls on Track, an initiative run by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), is dedicated to promoting gender equality in motorsports. To expand the opportunities for women to participate in motorsports, where male participation has traditionally dominated, a range of programs are conducted for girls between the ages of 12 and 18. Female leaders who are active on the actual Formula E stage give lectures to highlight the role and influence of women in the motorsports field from various angles and present a vision for growth through various experiential workshops.

Our company also served as the Presenting Partner of FIA Girls on Track in Formula E S9. By holding various experiential events in a total of 5 cities: Mexico City, Diriyah, Sao Paulo, Jakarta, and London, we hope to contribute to lowering the entry barrier to the motorsports field. Moreover, in celebration of International Women’s Day, the female researcher who led the development of Formula E racing tires was selected as the female leader of Formula E. This act directly demonstrated the diversity of the motorsports field.

Formula E will begin its tenth season in major countries around the world, including Saudi Arabia, Germany, Japan, Italy, and the United Kingdom, starting with the opening race in Mexico in January 2024. Building on the invaluable experience gained from successfully racing to the end of the ninth season and the high expectations of the global market, we at Hankook Tire are planning to engage in a diverse range of activities as the exclusive tire supplier and official partner of Formula E next season.