From grassroots motorsport to MotoGP or agriculture to aeronautics - machines around the world rely on Motul’s lubricants to perform at their best. At the heart of it is Motul’s passion for innovation, a passion stretching back more than a century and a half.
167 years of Motul innovation
Leipert Motorsports trusts Motul
As accolades go, they don’t get much better than the words of Marcel Leipert. Marcel runs Leipert Motorsport, a European racing team fielding Lamborghini Huracans in the Super Trofeo Cup and Mercedes AMG GTs in the European GT4 Championship.
“We’re super happy with Motul products. It’s longer lasting than previous oils we used,” he said, when we asked him why he chooses Motul for his racing cars. “You can see when we rebuild the gearbox there are big differences between the parts if you do it with a good oil or a cheap oil. It lowers the risk of retirement.”
Gibson Technology Powered By Motul
And he’s not the only figure in international racing with great things to say about Motul. John Manchester is the operations director of Gibson Technology. Gibson is one of the main suppliers of the high-performance engines that power the prototype racers at events like Le Mans and the British company has been using Motul lubricants since 2011. A decade on and Manchester says it’s a decision that’s been “fantastic”.
“The oil we use in our LMP2 racing engines is exactly the same oil Motul uses to sell to consumers driving normal road cars,” he said when we spoke to him at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year. “With the LMP1 we developed new technology oils that offer more performance. Some of that technology and information is used by Motul for a ‘normal’ oil and helps to improve the end product and the lifecycle.”
Going above and beyond
So what is it that makes Motul the go-to lubricant for the world’s most successful racing teams? To answer that, we have to go back to 1853 and a rapidly changing New York, emerging from the Industrial Revolution as a powerhouse in manufacturing. As the factories and machines whirred into life, oil became their lifeblood. Motul, or Swan and Finch as it was known then, was ready to power them into the future.
Even back then, innovation and a dedication for quality was sewn into the very fabric of the company, and Motul’s founders weren’t content with simply making the right oil for the right purpose. Constantly learning and evolving, it was dedicated to improving the reliability and performance of lubricants. Making machines perform at their optimum, time and time again. 167 years later, the company hasn’t given up on that mission.
Armin Bolch is the managing director of Motul Germany, which covers from Iceland in the west to the eastern part of the Mediterranean in Greece, and believes this passion for the product is still very much the driving force. He says there’s three things that makes Motul special. “First of all, it’s a high technology product. In fact, it’s better than good. To give you an example: to receive OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) approvals, you have to pass important tests. If you have a borderline oil, you can pass the test, but it’s still the minimum and this is not what we’re aiming for. In our DNA lies the aim to overachieve. To create a product with reserves for very special conditions. This is our ingenious approach into the market.
“Secondly, we have fantastic technical support across the world. You can call us anytime, and we explain, support and help. And thirdly, it’s our people. We are the sexiest and most authentic lubricants’ brand in the world. The entire team is a family. And this is the main difference when you work with Motul. This passion between the people and the brand is what our partners feel. Motul is unique and our partners share the same DNA.”
Motul’s partners span from racing teams in MotoGP, the Isle of Man TT and international car racing, to high-performance sportscar and bikes manufacturers like Brabus, Caterham, Bac Mono, MV Agusta, Sherco, Suzuki and Subaru.
Nigel Bottom is the managing director of Witham Group, one of the leading lubricant companies in the UK, making quality oils for a variety of industries. When Witham Motorsport was launched, there was only one brand Nigel wanted to work with. “We don’t have a motorsport product with the credentials of 300V. Many have tried and failed to develop a brand of motorsport lubricants, and it will never ever be as good as Motul. What I liked about Motul is it’s a product for the track and racing. A lot of brands start with the road-going oil and boost it up to a race oil. Motul does the opposite. It’s the Formula One way of doing it. We’ve inherited a mega brand.”
Developed on the track
It was in the 1950s that Motul’s idea of a living laboratory first came to prominence. Developing and pushing the boundaries of lubricants in motorsport, Motul was constantly testing and evaluating lubricants based on knowledge gained during real races, helping it achieve the holy grail that makes the difference between success and an early retirement: reliability and performance.
As Armin says: “Through our racing activities every weekend, we give a clear signal to the market that this product works, whatever the conditions are. Testing the product under these real conditions gives us a clear insight into our products that we can develop for normal day-to-day usage.”
This is a connection that runs deeper than pure sponsorship. The racing teams proudly display Motul branding and colours on their vehicles and often the company works directly with OEMs to develop bespoke, cutting-edge products that gives them the extra horsepower on the track. Armin makes a great point: “It’s a strong bond. It’s like architecture. You have to realise and understand the engine of a race car. You need to test with the race companies. Then you can make the small adjustments that are necessary to make improvements.”
However, it’s not only on the track where Motul’s lubricants excel. Armin gives a poignant example of just how incredibly reliable Motul’s oils are. “We have a very interesting partner in Iceland called Arctic Trucks, the only company that’s allowed to operate trucks on the Antarctic. They tested lots of different lubricants but the only lubricant that works in these extreme conditions is Motul. They have a video of a truck that had a broken window and was sitting there for a while with lots of snow building up inside. They got the snow out, started the engine, and it ran first time.”
The story of how the Motul we now know came to be started in 1932, when the Zaugg family, a French distributor, bought out the Swan Finch company and kept the Motul brand name, moving the operation from New York to France.
Since then, it has gone on to achieve a number of “firsts” in the lubricants market. In 1958, Motul was the first company to bring to market a multi-grade lubricant. Until then, you had to change lubricants in summer and winter, depending on where you were living. But this new product could be used all year round, in a broad range of temperatures, reducing lubricant consumption and maintenance.
Then, in 1966, Motul launched the world’s first semi-synthetic oil, and a year later, the first fully synesthetic product, Motul 300V using its signature ESTER Core technology, which gives good flow under both high and low temperatures. Since then the company has been continually innovating. Four years ago, it launched the first ever hybrid lubricants range on the market. “This was a signal that we understand that the future is changing,” adds Armin.