Motor oil selection of is extremely important as it will literally determine how long an engine lives and how well it will perform. At Borowski Race Engines, Inc. we believe in continuous improvement and are therefore always looking for that better mousetrap. You can't be a leader in your field if you are stuck in time. That being said, we view changing brands of motor oil as a high risk proposition. If we correctly identify and use a a better motor oil, the results will unfold for our customers over time. A wrong choice however could spell major problems in either the short or long term (ex, rings not seating, premature wear, etc.). There needs to be a really strong argument to change away from "the Devil we know" for us to take that step. Following both vendor visits and our own trials/analysis, we have found the case for Driven Oil to be compelling enough for us make the move.
Over the years, motor oil formulations have changed as have the metallurgy of the parts in which they are in contact. In general, the changes have not been for the better. Motor oils shifted away from Pennsylvania grade base oils and lowered the concentration of the critical additive ZDDP (zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate). This, together with changes in metallurgy, spelled disaster for many a flat tappet cam. These changes were often rolled out by the vendors without announcement or disclosure to the engine builders or end users. We stay in close contact with our select group of vendors to ensure that we always have the latest product information and have first-hand access to their latest technology.
The interview below with Driven Oil's Mr. Lake Speed at LS Fest 2019 followed a site visit to COMP Cams headquarter in Memphis TN and our own trials on our dyno. We liked what we saw from the moment we opened our first container of break-in oil and noticed the heavy scent of Pennsylvania grade. Our subsequent testing reinforced the data shared with us by COMP Cams which showed Driven Oil to be clearly superior to the competition. Lake is a member of the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers and brings a deep NASCAR background to the party so he really knows his stuff. Watch the video below to hear what he has to say. A full transcript follows.
Joe: How ya doing guys? I’m here with Lake Speed at the Comp trailer and we are talking about Driven oil. And he’s going to give us a rundown of the product line here and the types of oil. And the big thing for our customers is why is it the best?
Lake: Right. Well you know, the one you mentioned that was in use in the past is Pennsylvania based oil and the new GP-1 oil is the latest iteration of that. The old Kendall GT 1 back in the day was everyone’s favorite oil, tested and trusted, kind of a quick little side note. You know, ZDDP which is a key additive into motor oil wasn’t actually invented until 1941 and in the 20’s there was that great Pennsylvania oil protecting flat tappet engines and Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic without even thinking about the oil because that Pennsylvania base that made it so good. Now Driven is working with that same original refinery there in Bradford Pennsylvania using those Pennsylvania grade base oils, but now, we’re incorporating the same additive technology that we developed and Joe Gibbs Racing used to solve all their flat tappet cam wear issues. (1:17)
And NASCAR is using it for 200 races so the GP-1 is really a synergy of Driven’s advanced additive technology and the old school PA grade base oil combined together which gives you the best possible lubrication for a high performance street, track type engine. And that’s what you got there at LS Fest.
Joe: Could you explain the difference between the standard oil and the break-in oil? (1:47)
Lake: OK, so break-in oil is really designed that the critical first few moments when the engine is wearing in. There is a balance there you need. You need the parts to wear in the base but you don’t want them to wear too much or too little. If it wears too little, the rings won’t bend in, it will use oil and cause detonation and other bad things could happen. But if it wears too much, then you’re shortening the life of the parts. So the break-in oil is designed to be like primer before you put down paint. (2:19)
Because high zinc but low detergent and that creates that balance that allows the parts to break in properly without wearing too much so everything seals up. The rings seal, the cams break in, pushrods, lifters - perfect. Then you can go to synthetic oil for high performance; better lubrication and more horsepower.
Joe: You really are changing the surface chemistry with the break-in oil. And then once you got it where you want it, just like with the primer, the paint can lay down.
(Still Joe): Then we talked about the testing that you have done and how you actually have been able to measure the benefits of driven oil. If you could give us a quick nutshell. (3:02)
Lake: Sure, I’ve worked here with the guys from Comp Cams and they have incredible quality control. They have these machines called Adcoles. They can measure down to a 1/10 of a micron. That’s a tiny, tiny….you know, a human hair is about 40 microns. (3:19)
Joe: We’ve got video of it. We know the machine.
Lake: We are using the Adcoles to pre-measure the cam shafts. Then we do a two-hour race simulation and then send the cams back to Comp to have them re-measure the cams. So we can know accurately, a tenth of a micron, how much wear has occurred on a cam shaft. We are testing literally 15-16 different brands of oil, all the same viscosity, and the oil that provides the best protection is the GP-1. (3:49)
Joe: So you’re actually measuring camshaft wear and the other thing of course is if you are producing less friction, you are getting less temperature build up in the oil.
Lake: So, at the end of those 2 hour race simulation tests, you can take the oil temperature of the last 15-20 minutes, average it and on average the GP-1 was running 15 degrees cooler than all the other oil at the end of the two hour test. (4:15)
Joe: That’s a really big deal.
Lake: Well yeah. Not only are we getting less wear, we’re seeing more horsepower and lower oil temperature so it all correlates together. Less friction, less wear because of that advanced additive technology and the synergy with the PA grade base oil, that’s how it all comes together. (4:33)
Joe: So when you’re seeing temperature, it’s from friction and friction is “anti-horsepower”.
Lake: Exactly, and I like that, “anti-horsepower”.
Joe: So it’s a parasitic horsepower loser. And of course, when there’s friction, there’s wear. So anything you can do to reduce that friction will come up with a lower oil temperature which is how you see it (the friction). You may not feel a 1% difference in horsepower, but your engine will know it’s getting treated better.
Lake: Oh yes!
Joe: Thank you very much, Lake.
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