Whats the difference between street oils and racing oils?

3 min read

Street Oils officially fall into “Passenger Car Oil” category. Passenger car oils are regulated by API and SAE. You must pass certain oil tests to arrive at required specifications. As a builder of a passenger car oil, you are limited to building the oil within a narrow realm of specifications. You have to follow strict guidelines that limit how much or how little of certain components you can use to build a street oil. There are many reasons for these limitations. Emissions, efficiency, climate, etc.… Keep in mind that these limitations change from time to time. As an oil manufacturer, we have to keep an open mind and always be ready to make changes as the powers to be API, SAE, and OEMs decide on upcoming changes.

Torco SR-1 Synthetic Motor OilIn saying this… the following question may arise “How can Torco stand-out or be a better oil than other brands?” There are a couple ways to make a superior street oil. At Torco, we always use the best components and ingredients available. There are many different performance levels of the components that make up a motor oil including base oils, polymers, anti-wear additives, detergents, and dispersants, etc. and we utilize the best of the best. The “You get what you pay for” slogan rings true. We only use high-performance components, and it shows in our finished oil, Torco oils regularly outperform the big brand name oils. The other thing you can do is build oil in smaller batches. We call this “Batch Blending”. Batch blending assures that the oil can be fined tuned, so it is exactly like the last batch. Small changes can be made to small batches. Unlike other passenger car oil brands, the volume of oil they are building is so large, it is impossible make slight changes to it. This means the larger companies that do not batch blend have to accept the finish oil with a wider range. This means you are literally getting a different oil every time you purchase it.

Racing Oils do not fall into any official category. There are no regulations putting limits on the building and designing of these oils. You have unlimited freedom to build. Also, every true specialty oil company that makes racing specific oils will have their own philosophy on how to build one. In Torco’s case, most of our formulas over the last 70 years have come from solving lubrication problems in high-performance racing applications. Be it an engine, transmission, or differential… they all are well thought-out formulas that in many cases, have solved an issue in an extreme use application. These oils evolved into our vast Torco Racing Oil Line that we have today.

Torco SR-1R Synthetic Racing OilA true racing oil should be an over-built and purpose-built oil. Racing oils are not one-size-fits-all though. There is a need for many different types of racing oils. It is not as easy as over-loading an oil with Zinc as a lot of companies would claim. You must balance it all out with an abundance of anti-wear additives, anti-friction additives, detergent, dispersant, specific polymers, base oils, etc. It must be balanced and all play friendly together in order to be able to perform at the highest levels and make a noticeable difference. In a perfect situation, a racing oil should be built for a specific race car engine. For instance, a Restrictor Plate Cup Car would use a super light exotic synthetic racing oil packed with friction modifiers to free up HP, whereas a Top Fuel Dragster would use a super heavy Grade 70 type oil that contains heavy polymers that promotes ring seal under severe cylinder pressures. These are examples of two extremes and there are hundreds of applications that fit in between these two. It does get complicated trying to cover nearly all racing applications, but that should be the goal for any true specialty racing oil company.

Torco offers both, high-performance Street Car Oils and extreme Racing Oils for all sorts of applications. We will help you choose the best oil for your application, our Tech Team is standing by to learn about your vehicle and how you use it and will hand select the best oil for you.