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Don’t Fall For Shady Oil Testing


Much confusion and debate exists in regards to motor oils and lubricants in general. One of the primary reasons for this is that lubricants are chemicals in a bottle. Unlike hardware or sheets of plywood that are easily measured, touched and observed, lubricants are these slippery products that we typically don’t like getting on our hands. This opens the Pandora’s Box for clever marketers that have developed many “tests” to demonstrate the superior performance of their lubricant using their “proprietary formula featuring the miracle molecule unobtainium.”

In all seriousness, how do these “tests” actually relate to real world results? While these “tests” often seem to produce quite dramatic results, why is it that these same products don’t as often deliver as dramatic results in real world use?

The answer is quite simple, it’s mis-application. That may not have been the answer you was expecting, so let me explain.

Timken Bearing TesterWe are not dismissing the results of these “tests” as “slight of hand” or some other unscrupulous method of producing a false result in the “test”. On the contrary, many products can provide exceptional and repeatable performance in tests like the Timken bearing tester or the 4 ball wear test. The question is, are these valid tests that accurately predict motor oil performance in an engine?


Let’s consider the Timken bearing test. Also known in the lube industry as the Falex wear tester or “one armed bandit,” it is probably the most widely known “oil test.” The device consists of a rotating ring and a fulcrum arm that is used to place a load on a test specimen of bearing steel. The rotating ring draws the chosen lubricant into the contact area between the ring and test specimen. Then, the fulcrum arm is lowered to bring the test specimen into contact with the rotating ring. Variations of this test include manually loading the fulcrum arm to measure how much “load” the lubricant can carry before the ring and test specimen come into contact. Some variations of this test place a specified load on the fulcrum arm and then measure the wear scar on the test specimen. The basic idea being that the higher the load carrying and/or smaller the wear scar, the better the lubricant.

At first glance, this seems to make sense and appears to be logical. However, both Head and Shoulders shampoo and GL-5 rated gear oils will outperform motor oils in this “test,” so does that mean you should use Head and Shoulders shampoo as your motor oil?

The reason devices like these are not valid for testing motor oils lies in mis-application. First, these bearing and ball wear/load testers use bearing steel on bearing steel contacts. Engines are not made from bearing steel, so the metallurgy is not correct to an engine application. Second, none of these test devices simulate the by-products of combustion. One of the most effective additives in these “tests” are chlorinated paraffins. The additives are commonly found in metalworking fluids, and they provide excellent extreme pressure protection. However, chlorinated paraffins can form hydrochloric acid if exposed to water. Every combustion cycle in an engine creates water vapor, so some moisture will end up in the crankcase where it can react with the oil. If you are using an oil doped with chlorinated paraffins there is a higher risk of corrosive damage in the engine. Back when NASCAR allowed qualifying engines, many teams used special qualifying oils that contained high levels of chlorinated paraffins, and if the chlorinated paraffin oil was left in the motor after qualifying it was not uncommon for many engine parts to be damaged due to corrosion. In one instance, the acids from the oil actually “ate” a valve spring retainer.

As you can see, designing an oil for a “test” versus designing and oil for an engine are two completely different things. A PhD chemist that headed Research & Development for ExxonMobil Chemical once said that, “the only test for an engine oil is an engine.” That is a very true yet costly and time consuming reality. When Joe Gibbs Racing sought out Lubrizol, the world’s largest additive supplier, it cost over $1 million in engines and nearly 1 year to develop the specialized formulations for their NASCAR racing engines. Imagine how much time and money is involved in developing a fuel efficient motor oil for commercial diesel trucks, yet the technology for the commercial diesel trucks does not apply to the formulations for a NASCAR racing oil.

The point is to understand that the application itself dictates the correct chemistry. In fact, the false “tests” actually testify to this. Their outstanding performance in the application of the “test” is due to the chemistry being adapted to the “test”. What we are calling into question is the validity of the test to an actual engine. Caveat Emptor – Let the buyer beware is an appropriate warning in regards to engine lubricants that demonstrate “amazing performance” in tests that are not actual engines.

Driven Racing Oil Unveils Speed Shield


Huntersville, NCNew Speed Shield from Driven is a spray-and-shine protectant that sheds dirt, dust and mud while providing a glossy protective film for a variety of surfaces.

Dirt motorsports enthusiasts know that the worst part of the hobby is cleaning caked-on dirt and mud. Driven Racing Oil™ Speed Shield is the ideal product to make those cleaning headaches a thing of the past. After pressure washing the vehicle, spraying it down with Speed Shield will rinse away the smaller remaining dirt particles and leave a shine that isn’t wet or oily. It does so through the use of advanced surfactant technology to provide a durable, lasting polish that helps prevent mud and dirt from sticking to surfaces. Ideal for off-road, powersports and dirt racing vehicles, this fast-drying, water-resistant product works great on plastic, paint, decals and fiberglass. Driven Speed Shield comes in an aerosol can that utilizes a powerful spraying action to displace dirt. With no wiping required, it makes all cleanups easier.

Part No. 50070 

Driven Racing Oil Speed Lube


Huntersville, NC – New Speed Lube from Driven Racing Oil™ is a powerful penetrating and foaming lubricant that works its way into tight surfaces to lubricate hard-to-reach areas.

Utilizing technology derived from Driven’s championship-proven race oils, Speed Lube is a tenacious spray lubricant for all types of chains, linkages, heim joints and bearings. These parts are often left uncleaned, leading to harmful buildup. Speed Lube comes in a convenient aerosol spray can and is specially formulated to provide maximum penetration, lubrication and corrosion protection in hostile environments. It utilizes a proprietary additive package that features a variety of adhesion and anti-wear properties, and it is designed for extended intervals between applications.  

Part No. 50090 (8 oz. can)

Driven Racing Oil Introduces BR-30 Conventional 5W-30 Break-In Oil


Huntersville, NCBR-30 from Driven Racing Oil™ provides unmatched protection while also promoting proper surface mating of internal engine components.

Used by Joe Gibbs Racing to break in and dyno all of its race engines, Driven BR30 is a conventional 5W-30 formula that  is perfect for the first 400 miles on the street, one night of racing or dyno power pulls. It features high levels of Zinc and Phosphorus, as well as a comprehensive additive package that promotes ring seal and provides the maximum protection available for cams and lifters during the initial break-in process. As a result, it does not require any additional ZDDP additives. Driven BR30 also features low levels of detergent for maximum anti-wear film formation. Compatible with Methanol and high-octane race fuels, it is specially formulated for hydraulic lifter valve trains, as well as those used in restrictor plate and drag racing. Driven BR30 is also ideal for OEM rebuilds and hydraulic roller camshaft engines.

Part No. 01806 (1 Qt.); 01807 (Case of 12 Qts.)

Meehan Race Engines Shares Their Driven Story


I started using Joe Gibbs Driven Oil back in early 2009 on the recommendation from my parts supplier that it was the best racing oil around.

I had always used another well known brand oil and had no real problems with that but I did have to replace flat tappet camshafts and lifters from time to time which I put down to just plain old racing wear and tear.

I was building two new race engines for dirt track racing that require solid flat tappet camshafts and both engines were identical in every component being fitted to each engine except the oils that the customers wanted to run.

One used the mineral 15w50 XP4 from Driven and the other engine used the brand that I had always used.

The young driver who was using the XP4 lost track of his service intervals and the oil was used far beyond what I felt comfortable with. Upon tear down the engine was in great shape.

The other engine using the well known brand had regular servicing and I felt it would be good too but on pull down the engine required a new cam and lifters.

I liked the Driven range so much by then that I became a dealer.

On these type of engines which use alcohol fuel via a carburettor can cause some corrosion inside the engine so we now use the Driven Hot Rod Synthetic 15w50 which I have witnessed this oil keep engine spotlessly clean on the inside due to the corrosion inhibitors but still provide the protection for the valve train.

You know that the oil really bonds to the metal due to my engine assembly oil can springing a leak one day and sweated oil onto my steel topped bench. I cleaned the bench top with brake clean but with the sunlight shining onto the bench you could still see where the oil had leaked out.

I have since broken into the Sprint Car market and it was suggested that I should be using the Driven 10w40 XP9 in the 360 engines. I would have never been game to run a 40 weight oil in a V8 making nearly 700hp but the oil pressure is as good as a 50 weight oil and works great plus the extended drain intervals over mineral race oils is a plus to these guys.

On 410 engines, I have witnessed horsepower gains of 9hp using the Driven 15w50 synthetic 15w50 when compared to the Driven mineral 15w50 BR Break In oil. Can you imagine the gain you would get from draining a mineral 25w60 oil and replacing it with XP6. Cheap horsepower gain.

People forget that a aluminium engine will have clearance variation as the engine heats up and all of the clearances are very tight when the engine is cold so it’s very important that you have a fast flowing oil on start up.

The XP6 will last twice as long in a engine compared to a mineral race oil but the real plus with the XP6 is the way it protects the valve train from wear.

I have some 410 engines that turn up to 8,600rpm and run camshafts with .450’’ lobe lifts with 1.75 ratio rockers which yield .788’’ valve lift which see a valve spring open pressure of 758lbs which means that the little 5/16 ball end of the pushrod is seeing 1312lbs of force on it. These engines use XP6 oil and show no wear on the pushrods or the rocker adjusters.

I have a race team customer that has two engines and they use a very well promoted oil. These engines turn to 8,200rpm , run .430’’ lobe lifts with 1.65 rocker ratios which yield .710’’ valve lift and have a valve spring open pressure of 625lbs which means the pushrod tip sees 1,031lbs of force. Both of these engines required pushrods and rocker adjusters on rebuild.

That team now uses Driven XP6.

The beauty of the Driven Racing Oil company is that it’s a company for racers looked after by racers. You can contact them and have someone that’s involved in developing products will help you with your concern.

With more and more products coming out and constant improving of their current products why would you want to use anything else. Just look at who recommends the Driven range and it reads like a who’s who of the racing and performance industry.


Gary Meehan

Meehan Race Engines.

Proper Use of ZDP in Engine Oils


By John Martin, retired Shell engineer

Zinc dithiophosphate or Zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate (ZDP) is to engine oils what Tetraethyl Lead is to gasoline. Both are highly specialized chemistries which provide significant performance boosts to the fluids they are placed in. ZDP is the most effective extreme pressure (EP) agent known to oil formulators.

But you can’t just dump these chemicals into any oil and expect maximum performance benefits.

Oil Being Poured

ZDP (often called ZDDP or Zinc) is a highly developed family of chemicals used to give engine oils extremely good protection against metal-to-metal contact, which maximizes valve train longevity. One can’t expect to gain significant increases in performance by just purchasing a ZDP additive and dumping it into a motor oil.

When I was racing Funny Cars years ago, I religiously dumped a can of General Motors (GM) Engine Oil Supplement (EOS) into every oil change in our Funny Car, because I knew it contained ZDP. I was certain the ZDP in EOS would result in much-improved camshaft and lifter durability.

One weekend we ran out of EOS while we were at the track, so I was forced to soldier on without it. Upon subsequent teardown and inspection of that engine the following week, no differences in cam and lifter durability were observed.

Had I been the victim of a marketing ploy? At that time I learned that just because automobile and component manufacturers build engines, it doesn’t mean they know everything about engine oil chemistry and additives. Only engine oil formulators do, and there aren’t that many of them out there.

Why can’t the average racer simply purchase a ZDP supplement and significantly improve the cam and lifter durability of his oil? The primary reason is that the ZDP molecule is a complex chemical in which a metallic substance has been combined with a hydrocarbon to make the metallic material soluble in oil, and dissolving the ZDP into the oil is the key to maximizing ZDP performance.

ZDPs were discovered in the 1940s. They were responsible for allowing increased camshaft lifts that high-powered piston aircraft engines needed to produce sufficient horsepower to outrun their enemies. At the time ZDP was discovered, I doubt that researchers fully understood how it functioned. ZDP forms a sacrificial film on the surfaces of the components it is intending to protect. This film slowly wears away, sacrificing itself instead of allowing metal-to-metal contact.

This functionality allowed engine designers to increase valve lifts significantly to improve engine breathing and valve spring pressures accordingly to prevent valve float on more aggressive camshaft profiles. Over the years many different types of ZDPs have been developed as researchers better understand their properties. Today, ZDP compounds are the result of years of research, performance testing and solubility studies by additive manufacturers.RACE GROUP

At first all ZDPs were very chemically active. They solubilized into the oil quickly and immediately began protecting vital surfaces. However, researchers discovered that very active ZDPs became rapidly depleted and were only able to protect engine components for a short period of time.

The Seq. IV dynamometer engine test was developed to make certain that future, less active, ZDPs were developed to offer engine protection which lasted longer than just a few moments. Today additive manufacturers have even developed ZDPs which protect exhaust emissions equipment (catalytic converters and particulate traps) better than previous ZDPs, and these new ZDPs are found in the current API SN specification motor oils.

Over the years researchers and lube oil blenders discovered that a good ZDP could be rendered practically useless by improper blending of the lubricant.  Most ZDPs activate in a distinct temperature range. Different ZDPs activate at different temperatures. Temperature activation is designed to occur at those temperatures experienced by the camshaft/lifter interface. If ZDP is added to cold oils, it may not go into solution at all and precipitate out into the crankcase. If ZDP is added to overly hot oil, the ZDP may activate in the crankcase (or sump) before getting to the valve train components it is supposed to protect.

Good lubricants are mixtures of 10-12 separate chemicals which are blended together at specific temperatures in a defined order.

ZDP is added only at that point where blenders can be certain that the oil will no longer exceed the ZDP activation temperature. I don’t know what those temperatures are, and I’ll bet you don’t know either.


Another blending concern with ZDPs is the oil you are adding it to. As I said previously, ZDP forms a sacrificial film on the surfaces of the components it is intended to protect. Some highly compounded (high levels of additives) oils such as diesel engine oils contain considerable quantities of detergents to protect the engines from the harmful effects of soot (unburned Carbon). Detergents act in much the same way as ZDP. They must be absorbed on the surface to do their job.

The detergents in high-detergent oils often compete with the ZDP for the cam and lifter surfaces, resulting in those components having insufficient metal surface for the ZDP film to be effective. ZDP must be kept separate from detergents during the blending process. That’s why most racing oils contain low levels of detergents – the ZDP is more effective for better valve train protection.

The safest way to ensure maximum camshaft and lifter protection is to purchase engine oils specifically compounded for your application. It’s always best to let an experienced oil formulator and blender put your oil together for you. It may cost a bit more, but it will be well worth it in the long run. A properly formulated racing oil will not only protect cams and lifters, but it can also extend the life of valve springs. Saving a racer a set of valve springs can more than offset the extra cost of a properly formulated oil.

The New GF-6 Standard


Tailoring Engine Lubricants Is Critical To Performance Output

With broad changes coming to vehicle emissions and fuel consumption standards in 2017, including an average annual efficiency improvement of five percent per year scheduled until 2025, the design of every part of a vehicle is soon to be challenged. By 2025 EPA/NHTSA standards will require passenger cars to achieve 54.5 mpg, while for trucks the ideal target is in the high 30s.These changes will test fluids and oils as well as hard parts, and the lubricant industry is working to achieve the necessary gains with a proposed move to what is known as the GF-6 standard.

Developed by the International Lubricants Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC), the GF-6 standard anticipates that tomorrow’s lubricant demands will be entirely different from what’s commonplace today. The engines of the future will be downsized, turbocharged and much more highly stressed. The GF-6 specification is intended to increase fuel economy, enhance oil robustness, expand overall fuel efficiency, improve protection and reduce motor oil aeration in these power plants.

To meet the goals of GF-6, many car manufacturers have been experimenting with lower viscosity grade motor oils, as lower engine oil viscosity significantly reduces engine friction. A lower viscosity oil equals less resistance and thus improves fuel economy. Friction reduction through improved oil technology will have the greatest impact on these areas of the engine: the crankshaft bearings, the piston ring area, the cam-valve interface and the cam drive itself. Within these components, the crucial oil performance aspect is the film-forming ability in the sliding areas.

Deposit control will also be important element of GF-6, along with protection against low-speed pre-ignition and cam chain wear.

Another key component of the GF-6 specification is the provision for two separate ratings. GF-6A is backward compatible, while GF-6B will not be backward compatible for older applications and will feature an entirely new formulation. In addition to GF-6B’s lower viscosity, a unique balance of additives, viscosity modifiers and base oils will work with new and unique engine designs to maximize fuel economy.

Driven-sm-iconKey tests are being conducted within the industry to help determine the final specification of all GF-6 formulas. These tests include: high temperature/high load, valve operating system, low temperature deterioration and fuel economy performance. Current testing has shown no noticeable differences in wear between a reference SAE OW-20 and an experimental SAE OW-16. Results have proven that that the lower viscosity oil will demonstrate equivalent or superior engine protection in engine and bench tests, yet also return improved fuel economy. Even lower grades –such as 12, 8 and 4—are being investigated around the lubricant industry as well.

However, performance enthusiasts need to be aware of these GF-6 formulas and the demands on them in the future. While these oil upgrades are good for the most current production engines in stock trim, this does not make them an upgrade for older or highly modified production engines. The more the GF-6 oils are tailored to the needs of fuel efficient and lower emission passenger car engines, the less appropriate they will be for older and high performance ones.

The reason is that all oils are application-specific. To get better performance from a lubricant, it must be tailored to the specific application it is being used for. In turn, that lubricant is less appropriate for other applications. In general, the days of “one-size-fits-all” motor oils and lubricants are ending as new standards like GF-6 become the norm. Motor oils today are more application-specific than they were 20 years ago, and will only get more specific over the next 20 years. The result is that GF-6 oils will be designed for late model vehicles, but older hot rods and muscle cars, which will not need to adhere to the new standards, run the risk of being left behind. In addition, flat tappet engines will no longer be used in any GF-6 testing.
Advanced lubricants that are the result of GF-6 will be essential in paving the way for the next generation engines that will come out of the ambitious emissions requirements for 2017-2025 model years. However, these lubricants will be more costly and formulated differently than the motor oils we know today. Yet by eliminating the backward compatibility requirement, GF-6B will also be able to offer advanced lubrication solutions for tomorrow’s sophisticated engines.

At the same time, GF-6 will not affect Driven Racing Oil products as the company does not believe that API and ILSAC testing in modern engines provide representative performance for older or high performance racing engines. As a result, Driven will continue to produce its own application-specific-formula lubricants for performance engines, classic vehicles and race cars.

The GF-6 upgrade is aimed for 2017 model year vehicles, which is the point where the fuel efficiency curve begins to rise most steeply.


What’s In It? Driven Racing Oil KRT4-Stroke Karting 0W-20


Not only is kart racing one of the most popular forms of motorsports in the world, it is also one of the most technologically advanced. KRT 4-Stroke Karting 0W-20 from Driven Racing Oil is purpose-built for complex four-stroke kart engines running on either gasoline or race fuel. Ideal for Clone and Honda power plants, KRT uses a combination of advanced PAO, mPAO and TMP Ester base oils. This “trifecta” of synthetic base stocks provides the ideal combination of reduced friction, temperature stability and load-carrying capacity that these engines require.

KRT also uses proprietary anti-wear and friction-reducing additives to protect cams and lifters as well as piston skirts, bearings and other vital engine parts. However, these additives not only offer protection as they provide dyno-proven power gains of as much as .4 horsepower.

Because kart engines are splash-lubricated it is important have excellent air-release and low-foaming tendencies, so KRT was formulated to provide both of these key attributes as well.

In simplest terms, KRT 4-Stroke Karting OW-20 is designed to help kart engines make as much power as possible on each and every lap.

What’s In KRT 4-Stroke Karting OW-20 Oil?



PAO, mPAO and TMP Ester base oils Provide fluid film to lubricate and cool the   engine components; reduce friction, provide temperature stability &   necessary load-carrying capacity
Anti-Wear & Friction-Reducing Additives Protect internal engine components from   adhesive wear due to metal-on-metal contact; increase HP
Dispersants Suspends dirt and combustion blow-by products   in the oil
Antioxidants Prevents the chemical breakdown of the oil
Friction Modifier Reduces friction between rubbing and sliding   parts
Corrosion Inhibitor Prevents rust and corrosion due to moisture   and acids that invade the engine from the fuel, combustion and atmosphere
Seal-Swell Agent Conditions the seal materials to prevent   leaks
Viscosity Index Improver Improves the viscosity characteristics of the   motor oil
Anti-Foam Agents Specially selected to provide the air-release   required for a splash-lubricated engine


What’s In It? Driven Racing Oil FR50 Synthetic 5W-50 Performance Motor Oil


Ford Coyote engines are some of the most unique and stout power plants available today. However, these engines also require an oil that is formulated specifically for the blue oval’s one-of-a-kind Coyote design. Driven’s FR50 Synthetic 5W-50 Performance Motor Oil is a competition-proven formulation that provides the required viscosity for these engines and variable valve timing systems. At the same time, the oil delivers the wear protection needed for upgrades like performance cams. FR50 also utilizes a low volatility formula that guards against oil vaporization and foaming. Eliminating this problem reduces oil consumption and prevents inconsistent cam phaser performance.

The aforementioned low volatility formula in FR50 is a full synthetic that uses Group IV+ base oils. This means they contain mPAO, the most innovative synthetic base available. These oils have a broad temperature range and are great for use in extreme cold conditions and high heat applications. The mPAO base oils also deliver a high viscosity index, excellent air release properties and incredible shear stability. In addition, FR50 uses shear stable polymers that complement the mPAO base oils to deliver the most shear stable 5W-50 grade oil on the market. FR50 is ideal for crate up to supercharged Ford Coyote engines.

What’s In FR50 Synthetic 5W-50 Performance Motor Oil?



mPAO Base Oils Provide fluid film to lubricate and cool the   engine components; deliver a higher viscosity index, better air release and   incredible shear stability
Shear Stable Polymers Complement mPAO base oils to deliver the most   shear stable 5W-50 grade oil on the market
Anti-Wear Additives Protects internal engine components from   adhesive wear due to metal-on-metal contact
Dispersants Suspends contaminants and combustion   by-products in the oil to allow them to be carried to the oil filter; prevents   sludge formation
Antioxidants Prevents the chemical breakdown of the oil
Friction Modifier Reduces friction between rubbing and sliding   parts
Corrosion Inhibitor Prevents rust and corrosion due to moisture   and acids that invade the engine from the fuel, combustion and atmosphere
Seal-Swell Agent Conditions the seal materials to prevent   leaks
Viscosity Index Improver Improves the viscosity characteristics of the   motor oil
Pour Point Depressant Allows the oil to flow and pump in cold   weather to reduce wear at start-up
Foam Inhibitor Reduces the tendency of the oil to foam


Product Spotlight Video: Driven Racing Oil Carb Defender™ Fuel Additive


Huntersville, NC –Driven’s Certified Lubrication Specialist, Lake Speed Jr., discusses the features and benefits of Carb Defender™ Fuel Additive and how its formulation is superior to competing products on the market.

By now it’s no secret that Ethanol-blended pump gas causes corrosion in carburetors. There are lots of additives designed to combat this problem, but many do not provide the protection of Driven Racing Oil™ Carb Defender. Watch as Lake Speed Jr. explains how Carb Defender provides the correct type of additives to protect aluminum, Zinc, magnesium and steel from fuel. Carb Defender essentially serves as three products in one, as it offers fuel stabilization, deposit cleaning and corrosion protection. It is also safe for emissions-controlled vehicles and is available in a stronger dose than any other option available.

All videos from Driven Racing Oil are available on our YouTube channel at youtube.com/drivenracingoil.