Ricky Elder runs RE Performance, a UK-based workshop specialising in high-end servicing and rebuilds for supercars. His particular expertise is building Lamborghinis and Audi R8 engines, and he’s been known to build racing bike motors in the past. Who better to take us on a tour of why lubricants are so important for high-performance machines…
RICKY ELDER: “NOT ALL OILS ARE CREATED EQUAL”
Ricky, why are lubricants important?
The best way to think of an oil that you put in your engine or gearbox is that it’s like the blood in your body. It’s there to help you survive. And it’s the same inside an engine or transmission. If you have contaminated or poor quality fluid, the friction reduction is less, the heat transfer is less, it carries more contamination. If you were to service your car every 5,000 miles versus every 20,000 miles, the car that’s serviced more often will have less wear inside the engine because the fluid is in better condition to offer those protections. When you produce more power, you produce more load, so you need a fluid in the engine that can deal with the additional heat and stress. For cars at the motorsport or high performance level, we use Motul 300V.
Is there a big difference between a budget brand and a high quality one?
Ultimately, cost is king. The better quality you’ve got, the better the product is. If you put a budget oil in your car, I don’t think you’d see any issues day to day, but where you might start to see problems is if, for example, you were a track day driver. You might see increased engine oil temperatures because the oil can’t deal with the stress. You might have accelerated wear, because the oil doesn’t have the lubricant properties to protect the engine. We wouldn’t ever recommend a lower grade oil. Not all oils are created equal. The quality of the oil you use is as important as the fuel you put in your car. You want a good, branded oil. You wouldn’t use a mineral oil in a supercar engine, and you wouldn’t use a synthetic oil in an old banger.
What is it about 300V that’s particularly beneficial to high performance cars?
Oil has to do a lot of jobs. It has to be a lubricant, a hydraulic fluid and a coolant, but it’s also got to last 10,000 miles and handle lots of stop start. We recommend half-life services with 300V. Because you’re asking a lot more from the oil. You can’t have an oil as good as 300V and last 20,000 miles. It’s like a balancing act. I always use 300V in my race bikes, and I change the oil every weekend. A superbike engine for my BMW is £25,000, so the oil for my bike is a lot less in comparison. It’s the same if you have a high performance car. You want to do everything you can to protect it.