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Hankook Ventus Z214 - Tire Review

Test Mule 1995 Honda Civic Si

Jan 26, 2011

Specs & Details
Hankook Ventus Z214

Type Track & competition DOT race tire
Size 225/45ZR15
UTQG 40 C A

Modp_1102_02_o+1995_honda_civic_si+right_side_view Photo 2/3   |   Hankook Ventus Z214 - Tire Review

Key Features
»DOT approved
»Intended for autocross, time attack and road racing competition
»Available in two high-grip compounds: C51/Medium and C71/Soft (275/35ZR18 also available in C91/Very Soft)
»Symmetrically designed semi-slick tread designed to blend traction, cornering power and steering response

Test Mule
'95 Honda Civic Si

Test Drivers
Will Chan and Jon Weir, Enmo Racing
Test Track
Mosport International Raceway
Track Condition
72 degrees Fahrenheit, overcast and dry

It's no secret that Hankook makes some of the stickiest DOT competition tires on the market today. A number of top time attack teams run the Ventus Z214, so we figured we'd better try a set out for ourselves.

We had planned to test these C71 Soft compound Z214s out on our own EG Civic race car, but since it was still hibernating in the race trailer, we had our friends Will and Jon from Enmo Racing do the testing for us. You may recognize these guys and their seriously quick twin-charged EG from a recent feature story about their One Lap of America adventure (Jan. '11), so suffice it to say they have a ton of track experience on both street and race tires to base their comparison on. Here's what they thought of the Z214s.

"We ran these brand-new Z214s, featuring the C71 Soft compound normally used for autocross competition, around Mosport International Raceway, which has the highest average speed of any racetrack in North America. Being that our car is built purely for time attack, where it's all about that single fastest lap, the C71 compound was able to reach peak grip levels within the warm-up lap and was stable enough to provide consistent performance over the course of three hot laps.

Modp_1102_03_o+1995_honda_civic_si+hankook_ventus_z214_tires Photo 3/3   |   Hankook's Z214 C71 semi-slick competition tires are among the stickiest on the market.

"On the track, the tires transformed our car in every respect. The increased traction had us gripping the steering wheel for dear life. Stopping power was increased so much we literally couldn't stomp on the brakes too hard, and increased exit speeds had us shifting our close ratio transmission twice as often between the short straights linking T1-T2, T2-T3, and downhill through T4. We were able to nearly hit our gearing limited top speed (a tick over 120 mph) just before entering the hardest braking zone on the track at T5a, a deceptively steep uphill braking zone where we were pulling -1.6 g.

"The Z214s offered a reasonable amount of at-the-limit steering feedback, but they were typical of a competition tire in that they offered no audible feedback (unlike our Hankook RS-3 street tires that howl like crazy the harder you drive them). Longitudinal forces were much greater compared to the RS-3, but there's a bit more skill required to use the Z214, as they can break away under throttle or lock up (without TC or ABS) with less warning than their street tire brother. Steering response was markedly improved, no doubt due to their stiffer sidewalls, and the Z214s worked very well with the 800f/700r lb/in spring rates on our EG.

"The disadvantage with these tires being a softer autocross-oriented compound is that their life is quite short. While the tires still had a healthy amount of tread depth left after a two-day weekend with two competition drivers, the tires were heat cycled out such that grip levels were significantly lower the following weekend. A proper initial heat cycle followed by a day to let the tire cure would have extended their life."

VENTUS RS-3 VENTUS Z214
Fastest Lap 1:34.633 1:32.414 (-2.219)
Peak Lateral G (left/right) 1.49/1.72 1.82/1.80
Avg Lateral G (full lap) 0.67 0.71
Min/Max Corner Speed 75/205 km/h 80/208 km/h
Turn 1 Min. Corner Speed 143 km/h 153 km/h

Note: Comparison test was performed back-to-back in similar conditions. Three hot laps each, with all tires mounted on identical 15x9-inch (f) and 15x8-inch (r) 949 Racing wheels. RS-3s had one previous day of competition use and Z214s one previous heat cycle. Data collected using an AiM Sport MXL Pista.

VENTUS RS-3 VENTUS Z214
Tire Temp (F) Left Right Left Right
Front 159/166/167 175/170/153 145/166/162 169/161/138
Rear 134/125/128 121/121/116 130/137/146 144/136/126

Note: Long back straightaway made it very difficult to maintain tire temps before entering pit lane and recording temps.

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