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Lifter Wear Protection Test


weartestTest Specs:

Cam –

.460 Lift
224 Duration

Springs –

110 seat
270 open

Time –
3 hrs 1,500
3 hrs 4,000

These lifters are from a small block Chevy. 30 minute cam break-in with BR Break-In oil. The lifters on the left ran with the new Phosphorus Retention ZDP. The lifters in the center ran on the GM dexos 1 / API SN oil. The lifters on the right ran with Synthetic Hot Rod oil. All oils were 10W-30

DESCRIPTION Competitor Break-In Oil Joe Gibbs Driven BR Break-In Oil
GC, Fuel Dilution Higher numbers indicate less ring seal
% Fuel 1.14 0.67
Wear Metals Higher numbers indicate more wear metals
ALUMNINUM ppm 27 10
LEAD ppm 67 43
COPPER ppm 44 18
IRON ppm 84 37
Additive Package Higher numbers iindicate increased additives
CALCIUM ppm – Detergent 2298 668
PHOSPHORUS ppm – Anti-Wear 879 2537
SULFUR ppm – Anti-Wear 5642 9599
ZINC ppm – Anti-Wear 1101 2949


Effects Of Rust On Engine Durability


Rust is very harmful to engine durability in a variety of ways.  Most people think of rust as the typical brownish coloration (barnyard rust) often found on ferrous- containing (iron) components which have been exposed to the elements.  That is only one small part of the problem.

A more accurate term for what most people know as rust is corrosion.  Corrosion can exist in many forms, and one of those forms is barnyard rust.  Corrosion occurs any time a surface is left unprotected, and the metal on the surface is allowed to combine with oxygen (oxidation).  Oxygen in the air (or water) combines with the metal to form a fairly coarse abrasive material.

Rust occurs particularly quickly if an unprotected surface comes in contact with water and chlorine or sulfur.  The chlorine or sulfur combine with the water to form hydrochloric or sulfuric acid, and it quickly attacks the metal surface.  That’s why all good lube oil formulations are basic – to help prevent corrosive wear.  In modern day engines corrosive wear is usually more prevalent than abrasive wear.

Iron rust is abrasive, and it can play havoc with cylinder and valve train wear accelerating it by a factor of 2 or 3.  Highly stressed areas, such as push rod ends and valve springs are particularly susceptible.   But iron rust isn’t nearly as abrasive as aluminum corrosion.  (Aluminum oxide is used on grinding wheels.)  If aluminum corrosion gets into critical clearance areas such as cylinders or the valve train, it can actually cause engines to fail.

Rust inside an assembled engine or transmission can occur any time the oil is allowed to drain off a component due to infrequent use.  Engines which are operated daily or weekly seldom encounter this problem, but many street rods, muscle cars, and race cars are often stored for several months without being  turned over or fired up.  This is a recipe for rusting problems.

Water and low temperatures significantly increase the propensity to rust.  Engines fired up infrequently generate a tremendous amount of condensation.  If the engine isn’t allowed to completely warm up, this condensation remains inside the engine.  (Water will not burn off until the internal engine temperature (oil temperature) reaches 212 degrees F.)  This water will then attack any surface which isn’t adequately protected by either an oil film or a vapor phase rust inhibitor ( new tools which often contain a packet of vapor phase rust inhibitor to prevent rusting in shipping and storage).

The recent trend of using ethanol in gasoline fuels increases rusting tendencies significantly since alcohols have a tremendous affinity for water.  In other words, alcohol, whether it is ethanol or methanol, acts like a sponge to gather up any free water in the area.  Any unburned alcohol in your engine will soon be fully saturated with water.  That’s why racers never leave alcohol containers open to the atmosphere.  Open containers must be thrown away because they will contain significant water after only a brief period of time.

Military vehicles often sit unattended for extended periods.  The military lost so many engines due to rust problems that they came to the major specialty chemical (additive) manufacturers for a solution.  A 500-hour humidity cabinet rust test was developed to both accelerate and replicate the problems the military were experiencing in the field (even in desert climates).

Today the military demand that all engine oils supplied to them must pass the 500-hour humidity cabinet rust test.  When the Driven Hot Rod Oil was developed, street rodders requested protection against rust for vehicles which are often stored for months (even years).  Additive chemistry which allowed the Hot Rod Oils to pass the 500-hour humidity cabinet rust test was incorporated into all of the Driven Hot Rod Oils.

No other commercial engine oils on the market contain this chemistry.

Traditional New Oils And Old Cars Don’t Mix


By Mark D. Sarine

Have you heard about the Zinc problem with modern motor oils? Many classic car owners and racers have experienced camshaft failures due to modern motor oils. Even worse, be prepared for the zinc to change in motor oils again later this Fall.

If you’ve not had the pleasure of having your camshaft go flat due to modern motor oils, consider yourself very fortunate. As an owner of an engine parts warehouse, I’ve seen hundreds of perfectly good camshafts ruined by modern motor oils. So when I read about the new API SN motor oil coming out this Fall, I started talking to the engine builders we supply parts. The engine builders all said the same thing – car owners don’t much know about these modern motor oils and the problems these oils create in classic cars and race cars. Knowing about the Cruise News, I contacted Mike to see if he could help us spread the word – modern motor oils are not good for your classic hot rods and race cars.

Here’s the facts:

Zinc or ZDDP as it is commonly referred to in motor oils is a type of chemical called Zinc DialkylDithioPhosphate, and Zinc has been the most common anti-wear additive used in motor oils for the last 60 years. I just call it Zinc because it is easier to say and spell.

Zinc is a remarkable chemical that protects engine parts from metal to metal contact under heavy loads. Zinc works by creating a film on the iron and steel parts in your engine. Unfortunately, Zinc also creates a film inside modern Three Way Catalytic converters. This Zinc Poisoning limits Three Way Catalytic converter life to around 70,000 miles.

The Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates that car manufacturers warranty Three Way Catalytic converters on new cars built since 2004 for 120,000 miles.

To achieve this goal, the car manufacturers worked with the American Petroleum Institute (API) to create new, lower Zinc oils that allow Three Way Catalytic converters to live for 120,000 miles.

These new Lower Emissions oils have extended catalytic converter life, but they have shortened the life of flat-tappet camshafts.

Not long after these modern motor oils with less Zinc hit the market, we started to notice an increase in flat-tappet camshaft failures. At first, it was the race engine builders, so we shrugged it off as some new trick the race guys were doing that caused the problem. Then we started to see stock flat tappet camshafts going flat.

Things got ugly really fast. Every camshaft company started researching the problem. So did the Automotive Engine Rebuilders Association. Everybody wanted to know, why are cams going flat?

The answer was Zinc.

Lower Zinc oils work just fine in modern production car engines with overhead cams, and roller lifters. These modern engines don’t rev past 5,000 RPM.

Most hot rod and race motors have push rods, flat tappet lifters and rev beyond 5,000 RPM. These engines need motor with more “‘Zinc”‘.

The good news is that High Zinc oils are available.

If you have a classic car or race car, I highly recommend using the Joe Gibbs brand oils.
We have seen a dramatic reduction in camshaft problems when our engine builders started using the Joe Gibbs brand oils. Since Joe Gibbs Racing is a NASCAR team, they are on top of all the latest advancements in technology, and they have developed oils that work. I’ve seen used parts from Joe Gibbs Racing engines that look brand new (even with over 600 miles on them).

If you’ve not had any problems so far, consider yourself very lucky. Switching to a High Zinc oil before the new API SN oils hit the shelves is like an insurance policy against having problems.

We like selling engine parts, but I hate seeing good parts go bad – Especially when they don’t have to.

Proper Lubricant, Fluid And Fuel Storage & Handling


The importance of keeping lubricants clean and contaminant free cannot be overstated. Proper storage and handling techniques can prevent contamination related engine and equipment failures. Keeping lubricants (and fuel) clean, cool and dry prevents them from becoming contaminated with dust, dirt, water and other fluids. The following are practical ways to do just that:

  • Avoid using refillable containers. These containers present multiple opportunities for contamination. If you change brands of oil, buy new containers. Oils can be incompatible with each other, so you want to avoid mixing brands of oil.
  • Keep containers tightly sealed. This simple step prevents dust, moisture and other airborne chemicals from contaminating your oil storage containers. Brake Fluids should not be exposed to moisture. Even ambient humidity can affect brake fluids, so great care should be taken with Brake Fluids.
  • Keep drums and storage containers as full as possible. This will reduce the amount of “breathing” since there is less vapor space above the liquid level and thus reduce the amount of moist air seen by the lubricants and fluids. The proper way to store drums to prevent the ingress of water is horizontally with the bungs facing the three o’clock and nine o’clock positions. Drums stored and used vertically present greater opportunity for contamination.
  • Store oil where temperature swings are minimal. Changes in temperature can make a storage container breathe more which can degrade the oil. It is best to store oil at room temperature.
  • All oil-dispensing equipment, including tanks, drums, and pails should be clearly labeled to avoid cross-contamination of products. The label should list the brand of oil along with its viscosity. This minimizes the chances of accidentally mixing lubricants.
  • When storing lubricants in small containers make sure the new containers are clean, dry and equipped with sealing lids.
  • Accessories such as funnels are best stored in sealed bags to ensure they don’t collect dirt and dust while they sit on a shelf. A separate set of funnels and containers should be used for each type of oil, and they should be labeled accordingly. Avoid the practice of wiping funnels and dispensing equipment with shop rags.

Please note that these points deal with optimizing the “shelf life” of the lubricant and do not cover safety aspects of handling lubricants. Please consult the MSDS sheet for proper handling guidelines. 

How Often You Change Filters Impacts Engine Wear


Over 70% of all machine wear is realted to contamination, and dirt is the number 1 source of contamination. Reducing the dirt level in your engine reduces the wear in your engine, so what is the best way to keep the dirt level low? Frequent oil filter changes and high quality air filters (not high flow air filters) can remove dirt and prevent dirt from entering the oil system.

These used oil drain analysis results highlight the difference in engine wear attributable to dirt contamination.



Chart A highlights the difference in dirt contamination of the oil from changing the oil filter after every race compared to only changing the filter when you change the oil. It clearly shows that changing the oil filter regularly removes more dirt (silicon on the oil analysis) from the engine. When you remove the dirt, you remove the particles that cause abrasive wear in the engine. Chart B shows the results of the wear metal analyis from these used oil drain samples. The oil analysis shows that less dirt (abrasive particles) equals less wear metals (less engine wear). All of this leads to longer engine life, and longer oil life. You spend less money on oil and your engine lasts longer. All you have to do is follow our oil change program.

After every race, change your oil filter and just top off the oil level. You don’t need to change the oil, just change the filter. Keep changing the filter and adding oil after each race until you’ve reached 500 laps of racing. After 500 laps, you can change the oil. If you are running Methanol, change the oil after 5 races (just change the filter after each race).

Following this program yields clean oil, that lasts longer and reduces engine wear.

Effects Of Viscosity, Speed & Load On Bearing Friction


The primary requirement for hydrodynamic lubrication (oil wedge) is that oil of correct viscosity and sufficient quantity be present at all times to flood the clearance spaces.

The oil wedge formed in a hydrodynamic bearing is a function of speed (RPM), load (cylinder pressure), and oil viscosity (at operating temperature). Under fluid film conditions, an increase in viscosity or speed increases the oil film thickness and the coefficient of friction, while an increase in load decreases them. The separate consideration of these effects presents a complex picture that is simplified by combining viscosity Z, speed N, and unit load P, into a single dimensionless factor called the ZN/P factor. Although no simple equation can be offered that expresses the coefficient of friction in terms of ZN/P, the relationship can be shown by a curve such as that in figure 8-15. A similar type curve could be developed experimentally for any fluid film bearing.

In figure 8.15, in the zone to the left of c, fluid film lubrication exists. To the left of a, boundary lubrication exists. In this latter zone, conditions are such that a full fluid film cannot be formed, some metallic friction and wear commonly occur, and very high coefficients of friction may be reached.

The portion of the curve between points a and c is a mixed film zone including the minimum value of f corresponding to the ZN/P value indicated by b. From the point of view of low friction, it would be desirable to operate with ZN/P between b and c, but in this zone any slight disturbance such as momentary shock load or reduction in speed might result in film rupture. Consequently, good practice is to design with a reasonable factor of safety so that the operating value of ZN/P is in the zone to the right of c. The ratio of the operating ZN/P to the value of ZN/P for the minimum coefficient of friction (point b) is called the bearing safety factor. Common practice is to use a bearing safety factor on the order of 5.

In an operating bearing, if it becomes necessary to increase speed, ZN/P will increase and it may be necessary to decrease oil viscosity to keep ZN/P and the coefficient of friction in the design range. An increase in load will result in a decrease in ZN/P, and it may be necessary to increase the oil viscosity to keep ZN/P and the coefficient of friction in the design range.

Film thickness can be related to ZN/P in the manner shown in Figure 8.16. In general, film thickness increases if ZN/P is increased — for example, if the load is reduced while the oil viscosity and journal speed remain constant. With a proper bearing safety factor, the film thickness will be such that normal variation in speed, load and oil viscosity will not result in the reduction of film thickness to the point at which metal-to-metal contact will occur.

It is important to note that oil viscosity changes with temperature. Automotive oil viscosity is commonly measured in terms of Centistokes. The “dynamic viscosity” of an oil is a measure of the internal friction of a fluid, and it is typically recorded at two temperatures (100 degrees F and 212 degrees F) in accordance with the ASTM. The viscosity of an oil is recorded at a low and at a high temperature in Centistokes. Because oil loses viscosity as temperature increases, the “trend” of an oil can be plotted from the low and high temperature Centistoke measurements. These measurements are referred to as the Kinematic viscosities. The operating oil temperature of an engine or gear set will determine which viscosity oil to use.

For example an NHRA Pro Stock engine makes over 1,400 HP and uses a 0W-5 weight engine oil. A NASCAR Nextel Cup Engine only makes 850 hp but uses a 5W-20 weight oil. How can a more powerful drag motor use a lighter weight oil? The NHRA Pro Stock motor runs at a cool 100 degrees F. A NASCAR Nextel Cup engine runs around 220 degrees F. Our Driven XP0 racing oil is 11.5 Centistokes at 100 degrees F, and the XP0 oil is popular with the NHRA drag racers. Joe Gibbs Racing uses the XP1 in our un-restricted NASCAR Nextel Cup engines, and the XP1 is 9.5 Centistokes at 212 degrees F. As you can see, the operating viscosity of the 5W-20 XP1 oil is lighter than the operating viscosity of the 0W-5 XP0 oil due to the difference in operating temperature.

All material referenced from Lubrication Fundamentals, Second Edition, By D.M. Pirro and A.A. Wessol, Published By Marcel Dekker, Inc., Copyright 2001 Exxon Mobil Corporation

Why Use Hot Rod Oil?



Modern API certified oils are designed to protect emissions control equipment like catalytic converters. Driven Hot Rod Oil is designed to protect your camshaft! With high levels of ZDDP to protect your engine, Driven Hot Rod Oil delivers the chemistry that classic cars, muscle cars and historic racers need. Because these cars are not daily drivers, Driven Hot Rod Oil also delivers storage protection additives to guard your engine from rust and corrosion. These additives also prevent dry starts. Developed specifically for older cars, no other oil provides this unique combination of lubricant chemistry.

Modern engine designs and modern oils have done a great job reducing emissions and protecting emissions control equipment. However, modern oils have played havoc on older engines. The reduction in emissions in modern cars has coincided with a reduction in traditional anti-wear additives (i.e. zinc dithiophosphates) in modern oils. While this is great for the environment, it is bad news for your flat-tappet camshaft.

As stated in the book Lubrication Fundamentals,”In heavily loaded applications, flat tappet cam followers operate on partial oil films at least part of the time. Lubricants with anti-wear additives are necessary if rapid wear and surface distress are to be avoided. The oil additive Zinc Dithiophosphate is to provide anti-wear activity for the camshaft and lifters.” Simply put, you shouldn’t use oil designed for modern engines in older style engines.

Protecting your engine when it is operating is critical. However, more wear occurs during start-up than at any other time. A recent European study of Heavy Duty Diesel engines revealed a 50% reduction in cold-start wear by using synthetic oil in comparison to conventional oil. Reduced cold start wear means longer engine life! Driven Hot Rod Oil meets the latest SAE J300 Cold Cranking requirements, so you can give your engine the Cold-Start protection it needs as well as the Zinc anti-wear chemistry to keep your camshaft protected.


Because Driven Hot Rod Oil is designed specifically for older style historic car and hot rod engines, it also features US Military specification rust and corrosion inhibitors. These unique additives fight the formation of rust and defend against corrosion while your car is in the garage or storage. Pictured to the left are the results of a 1,000 hour severe storage simulation test. The surfaced treated with Driven Hot Rod Oil showed NO rust or corrosion!

When your car sits in the garage over the winter, Driven Hot Rod Oil fights corrosive wear and rust. When you fire the engine up, Driven Hot Rod Oil protects your engine from excessive cold start wear. When you put the pedal to the floor, Driven Hot Rod Oil protects your camshaft from scuffing. No other oil provides this level of protection in the garage, at start-up and on the road.

All About Zinc >

Proper Cam Break-In Procedure


Recent changes in oil and engine technology are likely the cause of premature camshaft failure; here’s how you can protect your engine!

Premature flat tappet camshaft failure has been on the rise recently and not just with one brand or type of camshaft. In almost every case, the hardness or the taper of the cam lobe is suspected, yet most of the time that is not the problem. This growing trend is due to factors that are completely unrelated to camshaft manufacture or quality control. Changes in today’s oil products and “advancements” in internal engine configurations have contributed to a harsher environment for the camshaft and increased the potential for failure during break-in. But there are several things you can do to curtail this discouraging trend.

Engine Building Tips & Parts Selection

Today’s engines are great at providing oil to every engine component except one – your camshaft. Windage trays limit oil’s ability to reach the top of the engine. Modifying connecting rod side clearances for less oil splash reduces the amount of oil that reaches the camshaft. Special oil pans further complicate both the break-in process and camshaft lubrication in general. While windage reduction frees up horsepower, special attention must be paid to ensuring proper supply of oil to the camshaft and lifters. By carefully selecting your engine components, you greatly reduce your chances of having a failure.

Lifter Selection

Flat-tappet lifters (solid/mechanical) with oiling holes in the cam face surface increases oil flow to the lifter-camshaft lobe contact point. Furthermore, using a lifter bore grooving tool (i.e. COMP Cams® #5003) will enhance oiling throughout the camshaft and valve train. As we all know, better oil flow means better initial break-in and increased camshaft durability. Additionally, make certain you purchase only high-quality lifters from reputable sources. Most lifters look alike, but you don’t really know where they were produced. “Imported” flat tappet lifters often times use inferior lifter castings and DO NOT deliver the proper durability and surface finish of high-quality, US-built lifters. Flat-tappet lifters must be built to strict diameter and radius tolerances and designed to fit precisely within their lifter bores to function properly in a high RPM engine. This ensures the lifter rotates properly and decreases the potential for failure. Additionally, flat tappet lifters must have the correct oil band depth and location to properly regulate the internal oiling of your engine.

Camshaft Nitriding

Nitriding is recognized by metallurgists worldwide as one of the most effective ways to increase the case hardness and lobe surface lubricity of flat tappet cams, all in an effort to enhance both break-in and long-term durability. Pro Plasma™ Nitriding is a patented process that uses pulsed nitrogen plasma to infuse nitrogen ions into the part – strengthening and fortifying the steel on a molecular level, to a depth of approximately .010 of an inch deep. COMP Cams® owns and operates a Pro Plasma™ Nitriding service in-house.


Engine Oil Selection

As we touched on earlier, another major factor in the increase of flat tappet camshaft failure is your favorite brand of engine oil. Simply put, today’s engine oil is just not the same as it used to be, thanks to ever tightening environmental regulations. The EPA has done a great job in reducing emissions and the effects of some of the ingredients found in traditional oils; however these changes to the oil have only made life tougher on your flat tappet camshaft. The lubricity of the oil and specifically the reduction of the important anti-wear additives such as zinc and phosphorus, which help break-in and overall camshaft life, have been drastically reduced. As stated in the book “Lubrication Fundamentals”,”In heavily loaded applications, flat tappet cam followers operate on partial oil films at least part of the time. Lubricants with anti-wear additives are necessary if rapid wear and surface distress are to be avoided. The oil additive Zinc Dithiophosphate is to provide anti-wear activity for the camshaft and lifters. With the increased use of roller follower cams (in production cars), the requirements for anti-wear have been changed to prolong the life of emission control devices.” The increased RPM and related increase in valve spring pressure in today’s racing engines require higher levels of formulated anti-wear, especially in flat tappet engines. Again, the book “Lubrication Fundamentals” sums this up, “Loading on the rubbing surfaces in the valve train may be high, particularly in high speed engines, where stiff valve springs must be used to ensure that the valves close rapidly and positively. This loading can result in lubrication failure unless special care is taken in the formulation of the lubricant.” Simply put, the oil used in a flat tappet engine needs to be formulated specifically for a flat tappet engine.

Proper Camshaft Break-In

Proper flat tappet camshaft set-up and break-in, as any engine builder knows, are keys to how long a camshaft will last, both short and long term. The correct procedure allows the lifters to establish rotation and develop a good wear pattern.

Break-In Preparation

Always remove the inner spring during break-in when using dual or high pressure valve springs. An alternative solution that addresses this same concern is using a set of low-ratio break-in rocker arms. Both of these solutions provide your best chance of proper camshaft break-in and long term durability. While these tips may be a slight inconvenience, a little time and effort on the front-end is much better than destroying your new engine.

Proper Procedure

As soon as the engine fires, bring the rpm up to 2000 to 2500 during the first 30 minutes of operation. Slower engine speeds will not supply the camshaft with an adequate amount of oil for the break-in period. The engine rpm may be varied periodically from 2000 to 2500 to direct oil splash to different areas of the camshaft. After the 30 minute break-in period, the inner valve springs should now be replaced and the correct rocker arms installed.

Racing Oil 101



Today’s engine oils are not the same as they were even a few years ago.

Phosphorus and Zinc Reductionchart_zinccontent

  • Phosphorus degrades catalytic converters
  • Zinc & Phosphorus content unlimited before 1993
  • Phosphorus now limited to max 800 ppm (API SM / ILSAC GF-4)
  • Mandated for 10W-30 and lower – still occurring in higher grades
  • Diesel oils now limited to 1,200 ppm Phosphorus (Oct. 2006)

Increased Detergents

  • Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valves
  • Increased drain intervals – less waste oil

Lower Sulfur

  • Restricted Sulfur content



Detergent and dispersant additives “compete” against zinc in the engine because they are polar molecules as well. Detergents and dispersants clean the engine, but they don’t distinguish between sludge, varnish and zinc – they clean all three away.

Modern API certified oils contain higher levels of detergents and dispersants due to the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) systems on passenger cars and diesel trucks. The “old school” theory on engine break-in was to run non-detergent oils, and this allowed for greater activation of the zinc additive in the oil.

Joe Gibbs Driven BR Break-In oils utilize the correct balance of anti-wear additives and detergents, so you don’t need to buy expensive additives to try to “fix” a low zinc (ZDDP) oil.


ZDP (aka Zinc) and Moly (MoS2) are polar molecules, so they are attracted to carbon steel surfaces where they react with heat, to create a sacrificial additive coating. The protective coating prevents metal to metal contact, which reduces friction and wear. Moly can withstand pressure up to 500,000 psi.

Detergent additives are also polar, so they “compete” against the Zinc and Moly.

Key Protection For:
Cams, Lifters, Push Rods, Wrist Pins, Distributor Gears, Bearings, Etc…



As Load Increases, Lubrication Moves From Full Film (Hydrodynamic) To Boundary Lubrication. Zinc Provides Boundary Lubrication.



The Right Oil

  • Proper viscosity and additives for operating temperature, RPM and load
  • There is no “magic molecule” that prevents engine failures
  • No amount of Zinc can fix bad geometry – lifters must spin

In The Right Place

  • The best oil sitting in the oil pan doesn’t help your camshaft
  • Oiling system design is critical to proper lubrication
  • Look into EDM hole lifters, piston oilers, valve spring oilers

In The Right Time

  • On time delivery is critical
  • Cold starts and Dry starts account for majority of engine wear – Multigrade oils dramatically reduce cold start wear

In The Right Amount

  • Proper oil flow is critical at all times
  • Oil is the lifeblood of an engine


A quart of oil contains 2 things:

Base Oil

Roughly 85% of what is in the bottle is base oil. Most base oils come from crude oil. There are 5 differentxp1_small classes of base oil based on purity and source material.

  • Crude
  • Distillation Gases
  • Vegetable oils and Animal fats

Additive Package

Roughly 15% of an oil is the additive package, but that 15% plays a
big role in performance.

  • Detergents
  • Anti-Wear (Zinc)
  • Friction Modifiers (Moly)
  • Viscosity Modifiers


Crude oil is fractioned by distillation into different “cuts” of oil and fuels. Engine oils come from the middle part of the tower, and are then refined by various methods to become base oil. The fraction of oil that becomes engine oil contains 3 families of molecules – Paraffins, Naphthas, and Aromatics.

Paraffins: Good VI, preferred molecule
Naphthas: Low VI
Aromatics: Very Volatile

Base Oil Choices

  • Group I, II & III are mineral oils (Crude Oil)
  • Group IV – PAO Synthetic (Distillation Gases)
  • Group V is everything else   (Animal fats and Vegetable oils)



The difference between synthetic and mineral oils are the structure of the molecules and the purity of the oil. Refined crude oil contains complex mixtures of different molecular structures and saturates (Nitrogen, Sulfur and Oxygen). There is no way to select only the best materials from this mixture. Thus mineral oils contain both the most suited materials and the least suited materials for an engine oil. Synthetic oils are man made, and have tailored molecular structures with predictable properties. Because of this, synthetics can have the best properties of a mineral oil without the un-desired materials. Synthetic oils have two unique advantages over mineral oils – lower traction coefficients and higher oxidation stability. This translates into improved energy efficiency – less friction –  and longer drain intervals.




Oil is Not One Size Fits All

To achieve maximum lubricant performance, an oil must be formulated to meet the specific need of the application.

The choice of oil for any application should be guided by the following operating conditions:


  • Speed
  • Load
  • Temperature
  • Service Interval
  • Equipment Design
  • Operating Environment


Modern Engine Set-Ups

  • Low RPM (Low Load – Less Need For Anti-Wear)
  • Overhead cams (No Flat Tappets or Push Rods – Less Need For Anti-Wear)
  • EGR Valves (More need for Detergents)
  • Extended Drain Intervals (increased detergents & acid neutralizers)
  • Modern engines built to use modern oils in order to achieve cleaner emissions

Race Engine Set-Ups

  • High RPM (High Load – More Need For Friction Modifiers)
  • Flat Tappet cams and Push-Rods – More Need For Anti-Wear
  • Short Drain Intervals and EGR valves – Needs Fewer Detergents



Additive clash occurs when two different additive chemistries interact antagonistically resulting in dips in protection. The high levels of detergent in API oils can contribute to Additive Clash.

Typical Break-In Procedure:


Three different lubricant chemistries working against each other.

Joe Gibbs Driven System Approach:


Matched lubricant chemistries working together to provide sustained protection.

Establishing an effective anti-wear / EP film in an engine is not unlike painting your car. Think of this system ofassembly grease followed by break-in oil and then synthetic oil like the primer, sealer and base color of automotive paint. It makes a difference when you apply the right products for the job in the correct order!


WHAT IS VISCOSITY?chart_viscosityflow

  • Viscosity is a measure of flow. Oil viscosity is generally thought of in terms of SAE grades, like 15W-50.
  • An oil’s flow rate increases as temperature increases.
  • SAE grades are ranges, not an exact measurement of an oil’s flow rate.
  • The number before the W is measured at -22F. The Number after the W is measured at 212F.
  • Kinematic Viscosity measures the exact flow rate of an oil at both 100F and 212F degrees.


SAE grades are only measured at 212F. The number before the “W” in a 15W-50 or 0W-30 is a cold cranking index that is measured at -22F.



Wider Bearing Clearances Require Higher Viscosity Oil To Maintain Hydrodynamic Oil Wedge



The “Operating” viscosity is the Centistoke flow rate of an oil at the operating oil temperature of an engine. Some engines run low oil temperatures, and other engines run extremely high temperatures. Low viscosity oils work well in low temp applications, and high viscosity oils work well in high temp applications. The SAE Grade viscosity of these oils are very different, but the operating flow rates are very similar.



  • Polymer based oil additive – makes multi-grade oils possible
  • “Shrink” under shear forces
  • Shear forces in race engines are greater than in production engines
  • Prone to permanent shear loss under extreme pressures
  • Adds friction modifying and dispersant functions




Description Valvoline VR1
Racing Oil
Valvoline VR1
Racing Oil
SAE Grade 20W-50 20W-50
No Shear With Shear Change
Viscosity @ 100F 179.5
Viscosity @ 212F 20.4 13.2 -7.2
Viscosity @ 300F 7.8 5.1 -2.7
Viscosity Index 133
Description Mobil 1 15W50
Extended Performance
Mobil 1 15W50
Extended Performance
SAE Grade 15W-50 15W-50
No Shear With Shear Change
Viscosity @ 100F 127.5
Viscosity @ 212F 17.7 10.5 -7.2
Viscosity @ 300F 7.2 4.4 -2.8
Viscosity Index 15.4
Description Joe Gibbs XP6 Joe Gibbs XP6
SAE Grade 10W-30 10W-30
No Shear With Shear Change
Viscosity @ 100F 115.0
Viscosity @ 212F 16.4 12.1 -4.3
Viscosity @ 300F 6.4 4.7 -1.7
Viscosity Index 154
Description Joe Gibbs XP3 Joe Gibbs XP3
SAE Grade 10W-30 10W-30
No Shear With Shear Change
Viscosity @ 100F 73.8
Viscosity @ 212F 12.0 8.9 -3.0
Viscosity @ 300F 4.9 3.6 -1.3
Viscosity Index 158


Chemical Identity XP3 Drain, 500 laps, Darrell Lanigan XP1 Drain, #18 Car, Atlanta Xp1 Drain, #11 Car, Atlanta New XP1 New XP3
Aluminum % .0081 .0004 .0005
Chromium % .0020 .0004 .0005
Copper % .0020 .0018 .0025
Iron % .0079 .0007 .0006
Lead % .3064 .0812 .0847
Silicon % .0052 .0023 .0014
Titanium % .0232 .0001 .0001
Viscosity @ 40C cSt 76.1 51.3 51.5 50.0 73.8
Viscosity @ 100C cSt 11.9 9.1 9.1 9.1 11.9
Viscosity Index 152 160 161 165 158
Remarks No Loss No Loss No Loss
Dilution %wt .46 .24 .26
Oxidation 2.47 0.09 0.19
Nitration 0.42 0.05 0.05
Remarks Little to none None None


By changing your filter every 100 laps and topping off the oil tank, you are able to increase the drain interval. As a result, the operating cost of oil goes down.

Initial Fill 100 Laps 200 Laps 300 Laps 400 Laps
Wix Filter 19.99 19.99 19.99 19.99 19.99
Valvoline VR1 (8 quarts) 39.92 39.92 39.92 39.92 39.92
XP6 (8 quarts) 115.92 14.49 14.49 14.49 14.49
Oil + Filter Total (500 laps)
Valvoline VR1 20W-50 59.91 59.91 59.91 59.91 59.91 $299.55
XP6 15W-50 135.91 34.48 34.48 34.48 34.48 $273.83
Savings $25.72

Valvoline VR1 20W-50 – $4.99/qt – Prices from Jegs.com 1/20/08 | XP6 $14.49/qt


Save Cams, Save Time & Save Money!

  • Joe Gibbs Break-In oil has 2,800 ppm Zinc – Double the Zinc of Rotella!
  • No More Mixing – Joe Gibbs Break-In oil does not need any GM EOS!
  • 5 quarts of Break-In oil costs no more than Rotella plus GM EOS!
  • Less Detergent for Better Ring Seal!



Cost Effective Protection!

  • Joe Gibbs Hot Rod Oil Provides More Zinc Than API Oils
  • No More Mixing – Joe Gibbs Hot Rod Oil Requires No Additive
  • Unmatched Rust & Corrosion Protection
  • Excellent Cold Start Protection – Less engine wear



Choose an oil based on application:


Customer Reviews


Check out what people are saying about Driven Racing Oil:

“I had my Crate 602 engine rebuilt this winter. I had about 30 nights of racing on it prior to being taken apart and I used nothing but Driven XP3 oil. The engine builder said the bearings looked like new when he took it apart! I think your products are GREAT!”

— Jim Dobey

“Late in the season my Small Block Chevy suffered a broken oil pump. Running second in a tight point battle with 5 laps to go, pulling into the infield was not an option. Five laps on a 4/10 mile at over 7000 RPM with 0 psi. Driven Oil left the engine undamaged. That finish put my team in line for its first track championship. I’ll never use another brand of motor oil.”

— Joseph Scarbrough, Langley Speedway

“Just wanted to send you a thank you for all the help this season.  We were able to win our 4th track championship in 6 years, all using Driven Oil.  It is very important to us that we use the best possible products to try and stay ahead of the competition and we strive for excellence just like you guys do.  We truly hope that we can continue to work together for the 2014 season.”

– Tom Ress, Crew Chief/Co-Owner, Mark Mackesy Racing

“Oil is the cheapest thing you can put in the motor, so why not use the best,” says Meyer. Meyer used conventional oil on his first car, a 1998 Honda Prelude, and he noticed it broke down after four nights, and the filter was used up after eight.

When he switched to a Cavalier with an Ecotec engine, he noticed his oil pressure gauge actually pegged out at 130 psi. He called Driven Racing Oil, who recommended a blend that solved the issue and now gets 20 nights out of a oil change.

“In the long run, the cost is the same, and it’s better oil,” says Meyer.

– Cameron Meyer, IMCA National Champion, From Speedway Illustrated June 2013 issue

I had a customer (Bruce Horey) with a fully restored 1975 Kawasaki 750 (was using a mineral 15w 50) who I asked to try Driven XP4 Racing Oil. He put it in but was very skeptical….now he just cant believe the difference. It starts so so much easier hot or cold, has more noticeable power in all rev ranges and the bike runs quieter than ever before!! it always had a slightly rattly clutch due to a really small chip on a crank tooth and it has almost eliminated that clunking at idle…he really is blown away with the improvement!!!

– Kim Taylor, Nason Engine Parts

Thank you for making a great oil (XP3) that saved my engine. I neglected to replace my dry sump belt on my Camaro Dragster and, not only warmed the engine up, but made a pass down the drag strip. When I returned to my pit spot, my wife pointed out that a belt was hanging low under the front end. I totally panicked! Remembering that I had been working on the oiling system and had removed the cog belt, but did not replace it.

The engine temperature never rose above 160 degrees.

Lost Creek Raceway is a 1/8 mile track, My warm up was the entire length of the track plus the shut down area, another 1/8 mile. So 1/4 mile down 1/4 mile back. Then I drove over to tech line, through tech and back to the trailer in my pit spot. We did not notice the cog belt at tech! Thirty minutes later I took the car up to the staging lanes and made a full throttle pass. The car did stall out at the end of the run, but we had just installed a new EFI Computer and all new engine wiring harness systems so, I figured that it was just a ” bug” and re-fired the engine, picked up my time slip and returned to the trailer.

We replaced the cog belt and started the engine. No damage, no water in the oil, no oil in the water, no metal in the filter, plugs looked great and valve lash unchanged,,,,we raced all day, it ran better than ever with “NO DAMAGE”. Hard to believe? Really? This is a true occurrence, not a story. My buddy, Dan Bentzen, and my wife, saw it first hand. I just thought you should know. Your oil saved my engine. Thank you.

– Paul Bognar, NHRA Member #391112, NHRA Competition #6898, S/G 2002 Camaro

“As producer of magazine project engines that receive regular follow-up, it is imperative that engine components used in the pages of Speedway Illustrated deliver exemplary service life. To achieve that, we use first-class parts that are cost-appropriate for a specific build, talented builders, and we follow manufacturer as well as builder instructions for care and maintenance.

Another essential component is proper lubrication. Our in-house project cars have used only Driven oils since they became available to us in 2005. Speedway Illustrated is equally proud of our on-track, feature-winning success of these projects as we are for the extraordinary durability, including 4000 laps in one 7700-rpm engine before its first rebuild. We enjoy the confidence and extended change interval Driven oil provides.”

– Karl Fredrickson, Publisher, Speedway Illustrated

“This is an unsolicited product testimonial on Joe Gibbs Driven Oils that I am very happy to tell you about. First off your oil got me out of a tight spot. Both from a time & money stand-point and ultimately from an entire engine rebuild. As you know, we build Mopar engines and we were dyno testing a pump gas small block 408 stroker last week with Edelbrock heads and one of our flat tappet solid cams.

We were testing different configurations of inductions looking to make 590 to 600 HP. We got 577 HP with a modified Edelbrock dual plane intake and then switched to an Edelbrock Victor 340 single plane. The power started to drop off very suddenly at 6200 RPM, the valve springs, like Elvis, had left the building!

The only other springs we had handy (we rent time on a dyno and time was running out) were a set of PAC springs with 477 lbs over the nose pressure. We had been running 365 lbs. The decision to take the chance running 477 lbs with a flat tappet cam and our Coolface (EDM) lifters versus making a later date to get back on the dyno was not easy.

We decided to take the chance because we had Driven BR30 Conventional Break-in oil in the pan. Well, it worked out better than we had hoped. 628 HP and the cam looks absolutely perfect. Thank you for a product that does more than it is supposed to.

Guess what is the only oil we stock or recommend to all of our customers? Driven Racing Oil.”

– Dave Hughes, Hughes Engines, Inc., Washington, IL

“I started using Driven products about six years ago and all my cam failures stopped. It is the only oil I use and sell. In all the engines we build, including our new Drag Pac Challenger, we only use Driven Racing Oil products. Thank you Lake and Scott for all you help.”

– Ray Klaver, Southern Marine and Automotive

“We developed Driven Racing Oil to fix our flat tappet camshaft problems. Just changing to our BR Break-In Oil from off-the-shelf products, we virtually eliminated break-in failures. Next, we began to develop qualifying oils and race oils, and that is where we found significant power gains. Every engine we build uses Driven Racing Oil because it delivers power and durability.”

– Mark Cronquist, Head Engine Builder, Joe Gibbs Racing

“Ed Pink Racing Engines uses BR30 Break-In Oil in every engine that we run on our dynos, and I use Driven HR3in my ’29 Highboy Roadster. I recommend this oil to anyone who has a vintage performance car. It is the best insurance for long engine life that you can get.” 

– Ed Pink, Ed Pink Racing Engines

“I had always used what I thought was a good, top named oil. Then we started having problems with cams going flat during break-in. My engine builder was told to try your break-in oil. I was skeptical, especially considering that we were dumping it just after the break-in process. But I figured that if it will stop the problems then maybe it will be worth it. Well, we stopped having cam issues.

XP5 oil. I’m glad to say we haven’t had any issues with lubrication. We ran the Budweiser Nationals in Bakersfield, CA, in October – my son finished the race and drove the car to the hauler. Later he mentioned that with about eight laps to go the oil pressure light came on. He looked at the gauge to see zero pressure and thought for a second that there must be a gauge problem because the engine was running great. There was no loss of power, no noise, nothing to tell you there was anything wrong.

When we returned to the shop we checked the gauge to find no oil pressure. We pulled the engine and took it to our engine guy. He dropped the pan to find the oil pump lying in the bottom. It broke off clean, with the bolt still in the block. We knew we were in trouble. After he took the engine completely apart he called with the great news. All he could find was one rod bearing with a little wear on it. He checked everything, put all new bearings in it and put it back together. We ran that same engine at the Dirt Nationals in Hanford CA, three weeks later. My son finished in the top ten, and the engine ran great.

We are not a big dollar team. We cut corners where we can, but I will never cut corners when it comes to oil again. Keep up the good work.”

– Keith Altig

“Incredible! Using the Driven EPC Chassis Grease on our Silver Crown car, the driveline components looked the best I’ve ever seen.”

– Evan Avart

“On our higher end engine programs we are trying to get every ounce of power, and we highly recommend XP9 racing oil to our customers. We typically see 6-8 horsepower on the dyno, and lower engine temps on the track.”

– Chad Mullins, Mullins Racing Engines

“Late in the season my small block Chevy suffered a broken oil pump. Running second in a tight point battle with 5 laps to go, pulling into the infield was not an option. Five laps on a 4/10 mile at over 7000rpm with 0 psi. Driven racing oil left the engine undamaged. That finish put my team in line for its first track championship. I’ll never use another brand of motor oil!”

– Joseph Scarbrough, Langley Speedway

“We have to run stock rocker arms, and the XP1 oil tripled the part life of the rocker arms. The oil basically pays for itself.”

– Lance Line, Line Automotive

“Before using Driven race oil, we had to send our motor back to get fresh valve springs mid season. Using Driven oil, not only did we not have to send our motor back for a freshen up, but our valve springs are still within specs after 1000 laps!! This oil is worth every penny and more.”

– Chris Titsworth, C.A.R. Motorsports

“We lost an oil pump belt while racing without breaking the engine. The team replaced the belt, and raced the engine 500 more laps. The oil saved the engine.”

– Jack Cornett, Cornett Racing Engines

“Driven Gear Oil is a product that the customer can depend on from day one. It is test proven for extended ring & pinion life and lower operating temperatures. I recommend this oil to all my customers knowing they will not be disappointed with it’s performance. Protect your investment!”

– Kerry Henne, Frankland Racing

“My name is Kyle Putland, I currently have the quickest naturally aspirated car in Australia ([email protected]) in A/Altered trim. I use a 50/50 mix of Driven XP0 and XP2 oil and I’m extremely satisfied with the way the big end bearings look after 57 runs in a 499ci pro stock engine. Results speak for themselves.”


– Kyle Putland

“With eight laps to go in a race, my son saw the oil pressure light come on. He thought for a second that there must be a gauge problem because the engine was running great. There was no loss of power, no noise, nothing to tell you there was anything wrong. When we returned to the shop we checked the gauge to find no oil pressure and that the oil pump had broken clean off. But thanks to the durability and protection of Driven XP5 we were able to run that same engine three weeks later.

“we are not a big dollar team. We cut corners where we can, but I will never cut corners when it comes to oil again. Keep up the good work.”

— Keith Altig, Grassroots Racer

“Incredible! Using the Driven EPC Chassis Grease on our Silver Crown Car, the driveline components looked the best I’ve ever seen.”

— Evan Avart, Crew Chief, RW Motorsports

“Thank you so much for introducing me to the Driven Speed Clean Degreaser and the Driven Race Wax. I used the degreaser to get the oil and rubber marks off the race car. Let’s just say it works great, considering I have not cleaned our car since the last race which was four weeks ago and the marks still came off with ease. Especially off the pink and white numbers, I have included before and after photos. The Race Wax sprays on easily and wipes off just as easy, leaving the car with a smooth, shiny finish. We just love it! The best part of these two products is they are so easy to use that even our 2 granddaughters can help me clean and shine Papa’s race car.”

photo 5

— Bonnie & Dwight Jarvis 

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