Kumho Tyres has launched a summer campaign 'Cash for Causes'. The company will donate £100,000 to deserving causes, charities, local groups and projects across the country, via the network of ECSTA Performance Centre (EPC) independent retailers it supports in the UK through its national distributor Micheldever Tyre Services.
Over 200 EPC dealers across the country have signed up to take part in the 'Cash for Causes' campaign, each selecting two local community projects they feel deserve a donation. Nominated causes then go head to head in a public vote to see which one the community feels should receive the larger share.
Customers can vote in their local EPC and online via www.kumhocauses.com. The new website also features a leaderboard and focuses on a different charity each day to help boost awareness and encourage voting. The in‑store voting process closes on September 7 with the local winner being announced on September 25. An overall national winner, picked via the online vote only, will receive an extra £2,000 bonus, with a runner up receiving £1,000. Kumho is also utilising a range of social media platforms to boost awareness and generate engagement online.
An added benefit to customers is a money‑off voucher, which is being given away with every purchase of Kumho tyres. The vouchers, which can be worth anything between £5 and £200, can be claimed online via the Kumho Causes website.
Commenting on the 'Cash for Causes' campaign, Kumho Tyres' Marketing Director, John Thrupp, said: "Kumho enjoys close links with the EPC retailers, who share with us the same philosophy of wanting to support deserving causes in the local community. With the excellent spread of dealers right across the country, it made perfect sense to run the 'Cash for Causes' campaign through these outlets. This way, we will hopefully create excitement and interest for each retailer and help foster a sense of community at a local level."
With difficult and unpredictable weather conditions throughout, Kumho tyres played a pivotal role in Garry Jennings's dominant victory on the Topaz Donegal International Rally last weekend (June 15-17). Partnered by local man Neil Doherty, Jennings blitzed the opposition and finished 1 minute 21 seconds clear of second-placed man Seamus Leonard. Kumho ambassador Jennings is now putting Irish Tarmac Rally Championship leader Darren Gass under considerable pressure, having closed within eight points of the top spot.
Although the man to beat in Group N, it wasn't a foregone conclusion that Jennings would cope with the switch to a WRC-specification car, but he made it look easy. He only managed one test before the event, but seemed at home from the outset in the Melvyn Evans Motorsport-prepared Impreza S14, his fastest time on stage one setting the tone for the rest of the event.
"This model of Prodrive rally car was considered to have been uncompetitive in the wet during the Galway Rally," commented a buoyant Jennings, "but I hope we've helped redeem its status somewhat this weekend. The Kumho tyres have worked exceptionally well with the varying conditions and given me great confidence."
The Voodoo-sponsored Subaru was primarily shod with Kumho TW02 intermediates/wets, but the team confounded the opposition at the start of day two by using cut C03 slicks, when everybody else opted for the safe choice of full wets. The resulting stage win further extended Jennings's lead and confirmed how the right tyre choice will always pay dividends.
"If ever you needed confirmation that tyres can make the difference between winning and losing, then this was it," declared a jubilant Steve Thompson, Kumho's European Motorsport Manager. "Although Garry is an acknowledged rainmeister, he still needed tyres that gave him the confidence to push when it mattered, and push he did. It was a great drive in very challenging conditions."
Kumho-shod Peugeot RCZs conquer 24 hours of the 'Green Hell' for the second consecutive year.
Already dominating their class in Germany's VLN race series, the Kumho-shod cars of Team Peugeot RCZ Nokia finished 1st and 3rd in SP2T (the category for 1600cc turbocharged cars) in last weekend's (May 19/20) annual 24 Hour marathon around the incomparable 15.5 mile-long Nürburgring circuit.
First past the flag was car '100', shared by Paul Englert, Steven Palette, Guillaume Roman and Julien Rueflin, which covered no less than 2077.82 miles at an average speed of 86.58mph during the course of the race. Despite being involved in two accidents during the night and losing valuable time as a result, Michael Bohrer, Jürgen Nett, Stéphane Caillet and Julien Piguet managed to fight the sister car '101' back to a very creditable 3rd place, and thereby join their team-mates on the podium.
Deputy Team Manager Timo Frings was quick to praise the fighting spirit of his drivers, who he remarked 'never gave up despite the setbacks', while the drivers applauded Kumho's role in the success, with the team's chief tester, Stéphane Caillet, confirming the Peugeots were 'really enjoyable to drive, despite a degree of nervousness in the handling born of necessarily stiff springing'.
Kumho's Technical Manager Mark Hamnett added: "We managed to dial out unwanted understeer simply by increasing the rear tyre pressures, and were almost certainly the only tyre manufacturer to finish the event without a single puncture; proving the strength as well as the performance of our products."
The next outing for the giant-killing little Peugeots is in round four of the VLN championship, which takes place at the Nürburgring on June 23.
Only recently appointed as official tyre supplier to the global Auto GP Series, Kumho has now also won the contract to supply all the tyres for the Fédération Française du Sport Automobile's (FFSA) F4 single‑seater racing Championship.
The state‑of‑the‑art 'slicks and wings' cars of this Autosport Academy are powered by 1600cc Renault engines of 140bhp output and aimed at aspiring F1 drivers – current Grand Prix competitors Jean‑Éric Vergne (Toro Rosso) and Charles Pic (Marussia) are among the series' many successful graduates. The decision to select Kumho tyres in preference to rival products followed a comprehensive test session at the Bugatti Circuit, Le Mans, where the Kumhos impressed with their reliability and endurance. The front tyres also proved to be lighter than those used previously, endowing the cars with superior balance.
Said Dominique Lunel, the President of the FFSA, "Although we had a good relationship from the beginning with Michelin, who was our partner for the last 19 years, we needed to find a solution to increasing economic pressures. Kumho provided us with the answer without compromising on quality. We are very happy with this new partnership that will also be good for the young drivers engaged in our series."
Added Steve Thompson, Kumho's European Motorsport Manager, "Our long and successful involvement in F3 allowed us to quickly establish suitable compounds and construction for these miniature Grand Prix cars, and we are obviously delighted the resulting tyres were found to be the best of those tested. This circuit‑based contract follows hot on the heels of our victory in last year's French Gravel Rally Championship, further strengthening our relationship with French motorsport generally and aiding name awareness for the Kumho brand in that country."
Following exceptional results on the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally (April 6-7), Kumho drivers are currently leading not one but two classes of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC); not to mention the Group N class of the Irish Tarmac Championship and the Irish Forestry Series.
Following a fine victory on the Galway Rally, team Jennings had fully overhauled their Kumho-shod Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, allowing driver Garry Jennings to show top form from the outset - he finished 5th overall on the first stage and ahead of eventual outright winner Juho H?nninen at the wheel of a works Skoda 2000. By the end of the two day event he had annexed victory in the Production Cup class of the IRC, of which he now has joint leadership. And by finishing 8th overall he has further extended his lead in the GPN category of the Irish Tarmac Championship - a position he holds in addition to the overall lead of the Forestry Series.
Said an understandably delighted Jennings: "It's been an amazing event. The Kumho tyres really worked incredibly well here and I think we have succeeded in showcasing their quality to the IRC regulars, who probably aren't as familiar with the Korean brand as we are."
Unlike Jennings, the 2011 British F2 and Junior Rally Champion Marty McCormack was competing on Kumho rally tyres for the first time, and very good use he made of them too, even though the event ran anything but smoothly for him. Driving a Citroen DS3, he bent the rear suspension on a misjudged corner and, with co-driver David Moynihan, spent much time under the car with between stages realigning the rear hubs. He also suffered worsening gear selection problems, to the point where the box had to be changed at the final service. Despite this catalogue of woes, he managed to win the 2WD Cup and thereby assume the joint class lead in the IRC series. He was also presented with the 'Colin McRae Flat Out Trophy' in recognition of the way he triumphed over the problems he'd faced - the award was presented by Colin's father Jimmy, a multiple winner of the Circuit of Ireland Rally. Thrilled with his result, McCormack said of his Kumho tyres: "They looked like a promising option in testing and definitely delivered in the rally itself."
Last, but by no means least, was regular Kumho runner, five-times Irish Tarmac Champion Eugene Donnelly, who had dusted down his Toyota Corolla WRC in order to contest the National element of the event, in which he finished 2nd overall.
Commenting on a most memorable event for Kumho, its European Motorsport Manager Steve Thompson said: "We've achieved some great results in rallying over the last few years, but this beats our previous record at this level of the sport. As Garry Jennings pointed out, not only are the placings themselves extremely valuable for the brand, but they have exposed a host of talented international competitors to the quality and performance of the Kumho product. We couldn't have hoped for a more encouraging start to the season."
Flavio Briatore very complimentary about Kumho-shod championship
The 2012 Auto GP World Series for 550bhp single-seat racing cars got off to a flying start at Monza on March 10/11. The results were particularly encouraging for 21-year old Adrian Quaife-Hobbs from Tonbridge, UK and P?l Varhaug of the same age, who is aiming to become Norway's first F1 driver. These young guns currently share the championship lead, after each claiming a victory and a third place from the opening two races.
Said Quaife-Hobbs: "In the first race, I had no idea how starting in this car would be, but held the lead into turn one and managed to break the tow early on, building up a 2.5 second lead over three laps. However, the gearbox problem we had suffered earlier then returned, so I had to push really hard to achieve the win. Race two was far more eventful. I got a good start but didn't have quite the same pace. The team did a great job in the pit stop, changing the tyres very quickly, and when a few cars ahead of me collided I was in the right place to pick my way through for third place. It was a great points haul and I'm naturally very happy to be leading the championship."
Former F1 boss Flavio Briatore was a noted guest at The Autodromo Nazionale Monza and was very complimentary about the Kumho-shod Auto GP World Series, branding it ?a winning concept'. Commenting further he said: "Auto GP, with its affordable costs for teams and drivers, is something motorsport really needs. If you look at the F1 feeder series situation right now, you see that some championship budgets are rocketing. As a result, promising drivers that lack the right financial support may never get the chance to prove themselves, and we could lose future champions without even knowing. Auto GP can fill that gap well. Moreover, it can aim beyond being just an F1 feeder series to becoming a championship with its own strong identity, where the best drivers race for more than one season."
The next round of the seven round series - again with two races during the weekend - will be in Valencia, Spain on April 1.
The BBC's Top Gear 'terrible trio' of Clarkson, Hammond and May never ceases to surprise, and yesterday's (March 11) episode of the popular TV programme featured them trying their hand at rallycross for the first time - the results of which were surprisingly impressive!
The aim was to prove that motor racing can be achieved on a modest budget and the starting point was our heroes' purchase of three modestly-priced second-hand cars - a BMW 328 for Clarkson, a Citroen Saxo for Hammond and a Toyota MR2 for 'Captain Slow'. Kumho's role was to supply the tyres - the company's proven C03 tarmac rally tyres for Clarkson and May and a set of the much vaunted V70A road legal competition tyres for Hammond, who was competing in a different class.
The venue was Lydden Hill, Kent and the meeting was a proper rallycross event run to BTRDA (British Trial Drivers' Association) regulations, so the boys inevitably met some experienced opposition; considering which Hammond and Clarkson did well to feature in the B final. What about May we hear you say? Ah well...
Kumho products are no stranger to Top Gear and in recent times featured in the team's infamous shoot-out with Germany aboard Kumho-shod Bowler Nemesises. They were also very prominent when the futuristic Mazda Furai appeared in the Top Gear studio.
Kumho has played a major part in the European rallycross scene for some time now, sponsoring and supplying the control tyres for the British championship for many years and still fulfilling that role for the French one. The road-going V70A tyre used by Richard Hammond is the same as Kumho Motorsport supplies to BAC for its innovative single-seater Mono - a car that featured strongly on Jeremy Clarkson's 2011 Christmas DVD.
Commenting on this recent Top Gear adventure, Kumho's European Motorsport Manager Steve Thompson said: "We enjoyed being involved with the feature and were quite impressed with the way the guys got on, as rallycross is not an easy discipline to learn. It was good to see this popular branch of the sport getting some mainstream TV exposure too, something it deserves but very rarely receives these days."
Partnered by Mark Broomfield, Roger Duckworth dominated the recent (February 24/25) Rallye Sunseeker National in his faithful Kumho-shod Subaru Impreza WRC, winning the event outright for the second year in succession.
By achieving the fastest time on every single stage, Duckworth finished the event a full 1 minute 12.7 seconds in front of Michael O'Brien and Paul Spooner in the former's Ford Focus WRC. Duckworth's victory not only netted him another trophy to add to his already vast collection, but also an expenses-paid trip to the 2012 Sol Rally Barbados. O'Brien's son Daniel was third in another Focus which, like his dad's, was running on Kumho tyres, leaving Kumho-shod cars an impressive 1st, 2nd and 3rd overall.
The Sunseeker is the biggest rally held in the South of England, and one of the most popular in the entire country. Its roots can be traced back to 1973. By 1986 it had moved from Surrey/Sussex to its current home in the Bournemouth/Poole area. Local company Sunseeker's involvement began in the 1990s.
Duckworth was quick to praise his Kumho tyres, which he said were: "Perfect for the soft stages." Added Kumho's European Motorsport Manager Steve Thompson: "It was clear from his victory on the very first stage that both Roger and the Impreza were firing on all cylinders, and intent on making the event their own once again - it was a joy to watch."
Korea-based Kumho Tire Co., Inc., one of the world's largest tyre manufacturers whose UK subsidiary is headquartered in Sutton, Surrey, has appointed Kim Chang-kyu as its new President and CEO, with immediate effect.
A chemical engineering graduate of Sungkyunkwan University, 58 year old Kim joined the Kumho group of companies in 1977 and first held posts in the Kumho Tires division between 1984 and 2000. More recently he has been President and CEO of Kumho Resort, Kumho Trading and Asiana IDT.
Married with two children, he is recognised within the company for his strong leadership, excellent sales and management skills and global mind-set.
Commenting on his appointment, Kim Chang-kyu said he would be making priorities of product quality and environmental matters, while further improving communications with customers around the world.
Following a memorable year on rally stage and race track in 2011, Kumho has started the new motorsport season with a pair of strong placings on the Safety Direct Galway International Rally (February 5). Kumho stalwart and five-times Irish Tarmac Champion Eugene Donnelly brought his new Mini WRC home in a fighting second place, while another regular Kumho runner, Garry Jennings, won the Group N category and finished an excellent fourth overall in his Mitsubishi Evo 9.
This was the first outing for Donnelly's Kumho-shod, Colm Quinn-backed Mini and the first time anybody has campaigned the model in Ireland. Expectations were therefore running high and Donnelly didn't disappoint, finishing a scant 1.3 seconds behind the winning Subaru Impreza WRC of Darren Gass, following a late charge that produced a string of stunning stage times. All being well, Donnelly will contest all rounds of the 2012 Irish Tarmac Championship, and few would bet against him being in serious contention for a record sixth title.
Said Kumho's European Motorsport Manager Steve Thompson: "It is great to renew our acquaintanceship with Eugene and no surprise to find he was immediately competitive with his new mount. New models can be just as much of a challenge for tyre manufacturers as the drivers, and it was rewarding to see our tarmac tyres providing the Mini with the performance it required. We look forward to an exciting season."
The next round of the Irish Tarmac Championship is The Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland rally on April 7/8.
Jennings also victorious on Donegal Forest Stages Rally
Prior to his Galway Rally success, current Group N Irish Tarmac Champion Garry Jennings had achieved outright victory on the Donegal Forest Stages event (January 28), in a Kumho-shod Group A Subaru Impreza. He led the event from start to finish and was fastest over nine of the 10 stages. The next round of the Valvoline 2012 Irish Forest Rally Championship is the Carrick-on-Suir event on March 3.