How Does Motorsport Technology Transfer Into Consumer Engine Oils?

Rafe sits down with Tomek Young – Global Motorsports Manager at ExxonMobil to discuss all things regarding the relationship between oil companies and motorport teams.

Rafe Britton: Especially in Formula One, Indycar or NASCAR the OEMs talk about the way that technical developments that they make on the cars eventually make their way into vehicles that we drive on the road; whether it’s hybrid systems or new suspension technologies.

So to what extent does that happen in engine oils? You’re iterating and doing so on quite a rapid basis. Do some of those components ever make their way into consumer grades? How long would that typically take. Are we talking like a decade or something like that?

Tomek Young: They do. This is an area that’s like rich in detail. So the motor sports technology that we develop at the track extends into the consumer products and it extends to this consumer space in many different areas. So if we just start taking it apart for one we actually do market to you and other consumers and racing line of products and many teams, including some of the top teams, winning teams use these products off the shelf.

They may not have a partnership with us. We might not be a sponsor and a technical partner, but they can buy our technology. They can buy that technology that’s, similar and very advanced. And readily gives them an advantage off the shelf. That’s one. Second, if you just go one layer deeper, we have products which are track to streets.

With some of the leading manufacturers and our OEM partners, we have developed specifications and products, which you can race with on the weekend. And then you can commute to work the rest of the week. We do recommend changing an oil after, after an event, but you can definitely use the same product for your commuting and for your regular use.

So if you’re a Porsche owner, as an example, we have such product for you and it’s marketed by both OEM and us as track to street. Very often. Our relationship with that OEM is actually rooted in a motorsports type of partnership. That’s where we look together for new molecules, new compositions, new specifications. And then extending that technology to the rest of our Mobil, Mobil, Mobil 1, Mobil SHC line and components are definitely something that we look at. And I know you already mentioned it a couple of times that we developed components in motor sports. And indeed when we formulate our products, in-house from components.

So we choose base oils and additives appropriately to give a team an advantage. That’s how you really do it. It’s not selecting Mobil 1 grade A versus grade B and seeing which one is better. It’s this development of a custom solution for a team and for a specific car. And let’s say we find, you know, new polymer our new base stock that works well.

Usually actually, people who are involved in motor sports are also involved in other programs. So there’s this natural dissemination of information, but we also do targeted session. We try to see how we can place the new technology, new intellectual property with within the high volume product line. And there are many examples of this being a success for endeavor for us, historically.