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Castrol’s Global Sponsorship Manager, Donald Smith, is well aware of the benefits of having the Castrol logo on a race car. “Motorsport is a great platform for building awareness,” he explains, “but it’s far from the only reason we’re involved.
“For us, these are crucial technical partnerships,” he explains. “We work with manufacturers and teams to maximise the performance of their race cars, but it works both ways – each partnership enables us to improve the performance of our product.
“We’re able to learn quickly, too. We may have trialed 15 different additives in testing with a team. Then comes a race or a rally. And another, two weeks later. This really accelerates the process and the benefits directly transfer to the product we produce for the road”
The contribution that Castrol makes can’t be underestimated. Last season, a team were experiencing abnormally high levels of fuel dilution at an event. Castrol quickly cross-referenced fuel samples with its Pangbourne R&D lab.
The result? A swiftly remapped engine management system and a potential engine failure avoided.
“We’re like doctors checking iron levels in blood. The aim was to find the cause of the problem and prevent anything untoward from occurring. In a situation such as this, you wouldn’t just ‘change the blood’. Prevention is better than cure. It is all about a collaborative pursuit of excellence.”
World Endurance Championship
The jewel in the crown of the World Endurance Championship is the famous Le Mans 24 Hours. In 2014, the winning Audi R18 e-tron quattro covered over 3,200 miles and, at its fastest, averaged more than 150mph around an 8.46 mile lap.
That’s just the sort of extreme racing that provides Castrol with priceless R&D. Formula One may be seen as the pinnacle of world motorsport but for Castrol, Audi’s hybrid, diesel-powered WEC race car is a much more valuable mobile test lab.
World Rally Championship
Thirteen three-day events across four continents, from January to November, every year. It’s a punishing schedule, but it’s everything Castrol love about WRC.
From Sweden to Mexico and Australia to Wales, the challenges are different every month and provide Castrol with an unrivalled way to learn how its lubricants perform on tarmac, at -25ºC, at altitude, on snow & ice, on gravel, in boiling heat and through dust. Where else could you find that level of competition? Among the teams supported by Castrol in WRC is double World Champions, Volkswagen Motorsport.
Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters
Or DTM for short, is the world’s leading saloon car race series. For Castrol it is a form of racing that poses different challenges to any other motorsport.
This year’s Audi RS5 DTM racer develops at least 460bhp (actual figures are a closely guarded secret) and weighs little more than 1,100kg (with a driver on board). For Audi and Castrol, the challenge is to make the most of that power in races that last just 30 minutes.