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 Exclusive : Racing Oil Test - Peter Van Wees


Oils well that ends well !

All racers look for an advantage over their opposition so when I received a call from a six foot five inch Dutchman called ‘Peter Van Wees’ claiming to have a magic oil that will give your engine a ‘distinctive’ power increase I immediately said I would call him back!

It must be pointed out that apart from selfishly wishing to keep any potential advantage to myself his oil, a fully synthetic product at the moment is actually illegal in Honda Formula 4-Stroke racing. When you get to know Peter he is an enthusiastic chap to say the least and with a background in engineering and chemistry. Van wees oil has developed several motor oils originally for cars and bikes but this is his first venture into the marine world with a specially developed oil specifically for outboard engines rated at 5W–60. With the Honda Series being the largest in the world it is no surprise his initial enquiries were directed in this direction, but to Construction Racing in particular is a little more unfathomable – though over the last couple of seasons any help would have been much appreciated. Peter’s initial claim is that his normal car 5W60 oil had been tested on a dynojet testing bench and gave an extra 2 bhp at the wheels compared to the best oil from Castrol were difficult to ignore. He soon followed this up with facts such as the engine tested was fully tuned and used on the racing tracks across Europe, running temperatures were significantly reduced by 10 -15 degrees Celsius, showed reduced engine noise and wear and tear to the engine, and also improved fuel consumption. Very difficult to ignore, especially when you bear in mind the Honda Series is meant to run as near identical standard specification boats with stock engines as possible. With rumours rife over the past couple of seasons of rule bending and indeed the use of ‘hot’ oils, fuel and dodgy ECU’s leading to a difference in running speeds across the fleet of 20+ boats by as much as 6 to 7 mph on top speed my curiosity got the better of me. So it was then several weeks later and on a cold Thursday morning at the end of February three Honda F4SA 150hp boats arrived at Chasewater Lake just north of Birmingham for their first run out of the new season and to try the oil. My own Construction Racing boat was joined by John Wilson’s Premier Cru and Stuart Cureton’s Team Purple, all of which have had times at the front of the fleet last season and with high hopes for this. Apart from carrying a little more weight in the boats than usual for racing due to some winter over indulgence and the artic clothing being worn by all the boats were in pretty much race trim. The plan was to test both acceleration, zero to 40 mph and 20 to 45 mph, then top speed with 2 boats running their normal legal mineral based oils and Construction Racing running a synthetic oil, Motul 330V in order to test another more specialised race oil then change to Peter’s and try the tests again. Stuart went first establishing an average16.5 seconds from zero to 40mph and 16.2seconds on the 20 to 45 mph for the 3 tests with John then averaging 14.8 seconds on the zero to 40 mph part, and 13 seconds on the 20 to 45 mph part.

The difference in time between Stuart and Johns was merely based on the amount weightdifferance 65 kilogram… and final for Construction Racing. With the engines still hot the boats were put back on their respective trailers and the engine oil changed in all three. The first thing noticeable was the varying state of the old oil when drained, ranging from a near water like consistency to a dark dense sludge, nothing consistent here then! As to Peter’s oil, apart from various properties it is instantly different. When you take the top of the can you are met with a really strong and sweat, almost strawberry aroma and a bright red colour to match, resembling more an ice cream topping than an oil. Now for the moment of truth, with the new oil in place the boats were topped up with fuel to try and replicate the weights of the first test as near as possible the boats were returned to the water and again Stuart’s Team Purple went first. The sense of anticipation was palpable as John and I looked on from the jetty with Peter pacing up and down like some excited parent rooting for his child’s success. After warming the engine up thoroughly Stuart started to retest and on his return to the marina our anxious wait was immediately over, we knew there was a difference. The instance Stuart removed his helmet the broad smile told the story and betrayed the results. 0 – 40mph was reduced by on average some 1.5 seconds, 20 – 45mph by just over a second and finally an increase of 1+ mph on top speed. Whilst the figures do not appear that dramatic in taking as many measures as possible to replicate the same conditions for both sets of test we could not allow for the good old British weather. By the time the boats were re-launched the wind had picked up dramatically and perpendicular to the lake’s length causing the boats to list into the wind and therefore not run as flat as in the morning. Consequently any increase in performance we felt was actually quite significant, both Johns and my team reduced the scores with1.5 and 1.4 seconds. As for the topspeed we got the same topspeed under much worse conditions. As if confirmation was needed the other two boats dully carried out their retesting, both to achieve very similar increases in performance. Not particularly scientific you may say and certainly no test for the likes engine protection and durability etc with the 10W30 and 5W60 Van Wees Oil SRG+ Nautic. Needless to say that a 10W30 is alright for ordinary use on ordinary engines but when you want e xtra as from 60bhp for waterskiing or racing you are be tter off using an oil that is made for that sole purpose, and will keep on protecting your engine even when the going gets tough and rough. So is it ‘magic’? Well, whilst as far as a couple of hours on a lake can inform it certainly seems to have a touch of the Merlin about it.

The three Teams presented are certainly going to use the oil, as the final upshot of all is the news that F4SA subsequent to the tests has announced that the oil will from now on be made legal for use in the Series. That in itself is perhaps the best test result, but presumably therefore all the other Teams are likely to now test with it and given our results use it to race. In a way this can only be positive for the Series in general as this goes one step towards reducing the rumours and returning to the original ideas of one class racing with the crew’s abilities being the main differentiator. However, as to our plans for Series domination, it is back to the drawing board!

Review Author: Marcus Bradshaw




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