Go into any store that carried automotive supplies and you will find that there is no shortage of oil on the shelves. And while every car owner from the average consumer who spends time on the road to hot rodders and racecar drivers knows that their engines depend on it to run, many are confused about which oil is the right one for their engine.
While oil manufacturers are increasingly addressing the specific needs of hot rods and other historic and collectible vehicles for maintaining viscosity at high temperatures, as well as wear and protection from corrosion during long-term storage, Istvan Kapitany, President of Shell Commercial Fuels and Lubricants Americas states that his company is turning to the racetrack to “as the ultimate proving ground for developing lubricants suitable for multiple areas within the auto industry.”
“As American road cars evolve to more closely reflect race car technology, the demand to deliver higher performance and improved fuel efficiency is at its peak,” he stated. “Through our motorsports technical partnerships, Shell is able to garner technology insights to aid in the production of innovative lubricants for these new and demanding engine technologies.”
This was recently demonstrated in tests involving Pennzoil Ultra 0W-40 full synthetic motor oil, which is used off the shelf in all of its Chevrolet twin-turbocharged V-6 engines competing in the IZOD IndyCar Series, which was found to be compatible for consumer-owned cars and trucks.
It should also be noted that oil manufacturers are coming out with an increasing number of aftermarket additives high in ZDDP (a family of compounds made up of zinc and dithiophosphic acid that can dissolve in oil), which can be added to API SN oils to boost their anti-wear properties.
Still, muscle car collectors and hot rodders note that“Today’s high-tech, high-performance engines have very different oil requirements from those of older engines from the 1960s and 1970s and that the phosphorous and zinc levels in current API SN oil are way too low for these vehicles.