What is the Motul Racing Lab?
Q&A Interview with:
Joseph Charlot, Motul Group technical expert
Nicolas Demaria, Motul Brasil Technical Support Manager
JOSEPH, WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH DAKAR AND RACING?
It’s my second Dakar the first one was within a factory 2 wheels’ team and I really enjoyed being part of the adventure. This time it’s a different experience with our new concept of Motul Racing Lab which provide services to all Dakar teams.
My background is Motorsport. Before joining Motul 10 years ago I have been involved in several FIA GT programs as chief mechanic and program manager mainly with Ferrari.
Throughout the years Motul has gained experience as an official supplier to many racing teams and manufactures and being able today with the position of “Group Technical Expert” to support this activity is highly satisfying.
NICOLAS, IS THIS YOUR FIRST DAKAR?
This is my 3rd full Dakar. My 1st was done working with MEC Team, which acts as a satellite structure for HRC and the 2nd one with HRC itself. Yet, before that, I always used to assist the departures and some of the specials back when I was living in Argentina.
Dakar for me sums-up everything I like: outdoors, adventure and high-technology applied to vehicles.
WHAT IS THE MOTUL RACING LAB?
Motul Racing Lab is a state-of-the-art mobile laboratory able to analyse the lubricant running in competitors’ engines at all the bivouacs within the rally (except the Marathon Stage). In 2018, this free service is offered to all competitors on the Dakar for the first time in Dakar history.
To benefit from this service, competitors come daily to the Motul truck, positioned in the Dakar Service Center, in order to request an analysis kit and then return with the sample which will then be analysed by machine.
WHAT BENEFITS DO THE RESULTS AND ANALYSIS PROVIDE TO A TEAM OR PILOT?
This predictive tool will allow crews and competitors to organize their maintenance schedule (parts replacement, oil change etc...).
WHAT INFORMATION DO YOU LEARN?
What kind of information do you learn from that machine?
• Search for metal elements present in the lubricant to detect premature or accelerated engine wear and thus know
if it is necessary to carry out replacement of a part(s).
• Analyse the composition of the lubricant in use to highlight any coolant leaks or fuel dilution that may damage the engine and limit its performance.
• Follow the evolution of these factors daily and recognize the development of lubricant ageing and degradation due to the extreme conditions of use.
Technical experts will be present for the entire Dakar event to analyze the results and make recommendations to competitors.
DO YOU ONLY ANALYZE ENGINE OIL?
The equipment we have can analyze not only engine oil, but all sort of lubricants such as gear oils, ATF’s, hydraulic fluids and even some fuels, like kerosene and diesel.
ANY SECRETS YOU CAN SHARE WITH US FROM THE FIRST WEEK AT DAKAR? (NON-CONFIDENTIAL OF COURSE)
Absolutely! The Motul Racing Lab has been a true upgrade in terms of services provided by the race sponsors, for both factory racing teams and small squads/ solo riders. For the first group, having the certainty that the engine components are enduring the challenge and that there’ll be no surprises in-between stages is crucial. For the Original by MOTUL riders, the simple fact of knowing they won’t need to make an oil change is great, because that gives them extra time to do other maintenance tasks, go through their road book or simply, sleep!
The Motul Racing Lab has allowed us to indicate different oil viscosities to cope with fuel dilution, demonstrating some crew-chiefs why it is better to shift from a common semi-synthetic to a 100% synthetic or the abilities of our 300V racing oil line to withstand the grueling conditions of the hardest cross-country race in the world.