An interview with Red Line’s Cameron Evans

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Since 1979, Red Line Synthetic Oil Corporation has grown to manufacture more than 100 quality products, including motor oils, gear oils, assembly lubes, fuel additives, and its popular WaterWetter cooling additive for the automotive, motorcycle, marine, and industrial markets. Based in Benicia, California, Red Line has a reputation with racers and enthusiasts alike for creating products that perform and protect better than any on the market, regardless of price.

Founded by president Tim Kerrigan (retired) and the late Peter Filice to produce lubricants for the racing industry, Red Line Oil now distributes its diverse line of products across the globe. The company brings a knowledge of available technologies and responds to technical challenges, satisfying the high demands of the performance industry. Red Line’s employees are enthusiasts that stay on top of each racing and performance niche, ensuring that product recommendations allow customers make the significant performance gains.

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Red Line has continued its support of the ChumpCar World Series in 2016 and was the featured sponsor of the Red Line Oil 24-Hour Classic at Virginia International Raceway in Virginia. I spoke with Red Line’s Cameron Evans about the products that they sell.

Bill Strong:   Let’s talk about motor oils. What makes Red Line Synthetic Oil better for ChumpCar racing than just heading down to Wal-Mart and purchasing a gallon of the latest synthetic oil?

Cameron Evans: The products you can buy at Wal-Mart or the local auto parts store are going to be made from Group IV PAO base oil at best (Mobil…) and the rest will be Group III or unknown mixes of Group II and Group III. All Red Line passenger car motor oil and our racing oils are Group V products made from PAO and Ester, a huge step up for only a few dollars more. And, none of these Wal-Mart products will have the extra friction modifiers and higher levels of ZDDP that you get from Red Line. The stable viscosity, wear control, temp control and ability to fight off fuel dilution is unprecedented from Red Line—you spent all this money to get to a ChumpCar race! Spending $20 more to keep the engine in the car for more weekends and gain a bit of power, foolish not to step up. This is especially true since you can leave it in there longer.

336 BimmerLine VIR 12hr March 2015_08

Bill Strong:   How often should an endurance racing team change the oil in a ChumpCar?

Cameron Evans: If you’re using motor oil other than Red Line, you should be changing it nightly. The ring seal in Chump engines isn’t great, so lesser oils lose viscosity and ability to perform when doused with fuel and contaminants. They shear as well.  Red Line-powered cars can go the whole weekend without an oil change without question since esters fight that shearing and deal better with fuel. When we finished 2nd at the VIR 24 Hour with our in-house BimmerLine team a few years back, we tested our 40WT Race oil after the event and it was legally the same viscosity as when it went in. Other oils can’t achieve that. As for our MT-90, D4 ATF or 75W90 GL-5 gear oil, you can typically go 3-times longer than you’d go on a motor oil change. Other brands? I’d change them after the weekend.

Bill Strong:   Since we tend to race older cars that call for older specifications like higher zinc/phosphorus, or GL4 gear fluids, does Red Line offer these types of oils?

Cameron Evans: The first thing to know is that all that Wal-Mart oil (even Mobil) has no more than 800ppm of ZDDP as an API certification rule. Red Line’s passenger car motor oil (with a blue label) has 1200ppm and our race oil has 2200ppm. The engines don’t need a lot more ZDDP to control wear since only the CHEATY ones have more valve spring pressure to wear out the cams! The ZDDP does help, all kidding aside.

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Note that GL-4 like our MTL, MT-90 or D4 ATF isn’t an “old car spec.” It’s simply the gear oil specification for most manual transmissions, meaning it has less extreme pressure additive and is less slippery than a GL-5 differential oil. Manual transmissions don’t like slipperiness as the synchros then spin too quickly to make a shift without a crunch. 80s, 90s and 2000s cars that are raced need the same oil as newer cars—it’s a myth to think otherwise. Our 40WT Race Oil is a perfect multi-grade motor oil for Chump racing (it’s a 15W40) as it’s not too thick where it traps heat, adds a little viscosity over a 30WT and gets you through most engine complications. Worn engines contaminate oil more than new engines. Race them? It gets worse and requires better products.

Bill Strong:   Some teams are new to racing and what is needed to complete a race with the engine and drivetrain still running at the end of a grueling 14-hour race. Does Red Line have any tools that can help a team determine what lubricants would be best for their make and model car?

Cameron Evans: We have a crazy-great Year Make Model application guide at redlineoil.com. I can’t stress enough that a new team needs to look at what that vehicle required for a fluid type when it was new! Then, possibly add one level of viscosity to the motor oil choice (from 5W30 to our 40WT Race is a popular choice), choose the same transmission oil type (Hondas take our MTL, BMW and Mustangs take our D4 ATF, Nissans, Hondas and Mazdas take MT-90) and note that slower RWD cars take 75W90 GL-5 gear oil, many choose our 75W110 GL-5 as an intermediate blend and only the big muscle cars need a 75W140.

Bill Strong:   Where is the best place to purchase Red Line Synthetic Oil?

Cameron Evans: Many teams rely on mail-order to get our stuff. The big road-race supply houses like HRP World, Pegasus and BimmerWorld all have mail order sites. Some use Amazon, Jegs or Summit since they buy other things there as well. Local shops that get wholesale items buy from giants like WORLDPAC, Motovicity, Turn 14, Motor State and Keystone—they all have our products. If you just need a bottle of WaterWetter®, you can hit your local AutoZone, Advance, Pep Boys or O’Reilly store.

1-3 October, 2015, Braselton, Georgia USA 85, Chevrolet, ORECA FLM09, PC, Mikhail Goikhberg, Chris Miller, Rusty Mitchell ©2015, Jake Galstad LAT Photo USA
1-3 October, 2015, Braselton, Georgia USA
85, Chevrolet, ORECA FLM09, PC, Mikhail Goikhberg, Chris Miller, Rusty Mitchell
©2015, Jake Galstad
LAT Photo USA

Bill Strong:   And finally, since you have a long time association with the ChumpCar World Series as both sponsor and a race winning driver in the Redline BMW and your oils are used by Rolex 24 winning teams, is there a difference between the lubrication requirements of a ChumpCar and the pro cars that race at the Rolex 24? 

Cameron Evans: ChumpCar guys should be proud.  The 75W110 GL-5 that sells so well in professional road racing and stock car racing was actually developed in the BimmerLine E36 at Chump! It helps the ring and pinion with a bit more viscosity, but moreover it makes an LSD operate consistently when a less-than-experienced driver is stabbing at the throttle more than a pro driver. The same 40WT Race Oil that we won with in the JDC Prototype at the Rolex 24 is the best-selling motor oil for Chump. Certainly you don’t find Xtrac sequential transmissions in ChumpCar (at least not yet, but we want to throw one in our Realtime “Emitlaer” Civic just for a laugh), but that box uses that same 75W90 GL-5 gear oil as you’d use in a Miata differential.  

 Thank you Cameron. You can get more information about Red Line Synthetic Oils by visiting their website at https://www.redlineoil.com/

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