Ask Armadillo Andy

I’ve been involved in motor sports most of my life and for the past 16 years we’ve hosted a High Performance Racing Seminar for the racing community to help racers learn more insider secrets from industry experts that they can apply to their racing program right now.  The purpose of this column is to share answers to questions many racers want to know.

Question:  Why should I use racing fuel when my car runs just fine on pump gasoline?

Answer:  Wow the long answer to this question could take pages and pages to answer so I’ll do my best to make it short.  Pump gas is crap.  There, it has been said.  Even 92 octane pump gas just doesn’t have enough octane to prevent knocking and pinging in a high performance racing engine.  Now if you are running a stock engine with the factory installed knock sensor then the computer will adjust your timing and other performance factors to keep the engine safe from damage resulting from poor quality gasoline.

If you have a performance engine and have gone to great lengths to tune this engine for power, then racing fuel is a necessity.  Without higher octane fuel, the engine managment system will simply change your setting and negate all your hard work by returning the engine to run on the crap gas you put in it.  Thus you wasted your time and money building a performance engine because the computer took away all your performance settings to keep the engine alive on crappy gas.

If you don’t have an engine managment system, then your engine will not live very long on pump gas and certainly won’t make power.  When you take it apart you’ll see the damage to valves, rings, pistons and combustion chambers that result from detonation and knock.  Performance racing isn’t about economy and if you think it is, you need to take another look at why you are racing.  Simply put you need racing fuel to provide enough octane to prevent engine damage while allowing you to tune for best performance.

Just ask around at the track.  In the performance classes, winner use racing fuel all the time because racing fuel protects their engine investment from damage and makes power.  Here’s a tip for  you – always use the same fuel.  Set up your car on one brand of racing fuel and stick with it.  All racing fuels are not equal and if you want power and consistency go the extra mile and make sure you are always using the same high quality fuel to ensure you are making the power you’ve paid for.  Here’s another tip for you – when you use a high quality racing fuel, and your car isn’t performing as it should, it isn’t the fuel.  This keeps you from wondering, Is it the fuel?  No it isn’t, now go trouble shoot your problem elsewhere.  On pump gas you are always asking, did I get a bad load of fuel?

Next time we’ll cover another often  asked question

Ask Armadillo Andy