Skid Marks

Why the Motul Driving Experience 2017 is my absolutely best driving event


Strapping into the Formula 4 car while getting last-minute instructions on starting the engine and operating the sequential paddle-shift transmission

I was fortunate enough to spend an entire day driving at the Sepang International Circuit’s North Course and its equally famous international-spec go-kart track last week, courtesy of Motul.

With a very strong emphasis on motorsport, the well-known French brand—which has been around for 164 years (and counting)—has always specialized in lubricants and chemicals, unlike many of its competitors who have delved into energy and fuel.

By specializing on a specific product line, the company has grown and evolved, delivering the best, and thus supporting various top-level motorsports teams that serve as rolling laboratories with the aim of delivering even better performing lubricants and chemicals to regular consumers like you and me.

Their Century line of oil, introduced in 1953, was Europe’s first multi-grade engine oil, followed by Century 2100 which was the first semi-synthetic oil in the world.

In 1971, when its 300V line of fully-synthetic oil was introduced, the company took the lead in lubricants development worldwide.

The 300V line was the world’s first ever fully synthetic engine oil, and the 300V designation signified Motul’s 300 victories in the world stage of motorsports.

If Motul were to release a new oil with the same designation of victories, the 300 would probably be closer to 5000, according to Motul personnel. Today, their EsterCore technology is the best of its kind. Ester-base stocks, harvested from plants rather than crude oil, are safer, cleaner and completely biodegradable, offering a higher flash point, maintaining better pressure consistency and diminishes oil burn-off.

Truly cutting edge stuff. This is the exact same oil that many Le Mans race cars use, which you can buy at your leading auto parts store worldwide.

To give select media members a taste of what Motul is all about, we flew to Sepang to sample Motul lubricants and chemicals at work under duress.

Participants of the Motul Driving Experience 201 are all smiles.

What followed was the absolutely best driving experience I have ever had the pleasure of attending. Here are 5 reasons why.

1. I got to drive a Formula 4 car. Open-wheel racing is the echelon of motorsports. Even if Formula 4 is still a couple of steps away from Formula 1, you get the same feeling—open-wheel cockpit, exposed suspension, full slicks and wings with massive aerodynamic grip, a sequential, clutch-less paddle-shift operated transmission, and the massive G-forces we never experience on the road.

Despite barely being able to fit, I got in, spent 10 minutes driving as fast and as hard as I could, and stepped out like a veteran returning from war.

It was the most intense physical driving situation I have ever experienced in my life.

2. I was able to go flat-out fast and fun at a go-kart. For as long as I can remember, I have hated go-karts and driving them because I was always a tad too big and thus was uncomfortable driving one.

What a huge difference a properly sized XL seat makes. After two 10-minute practice sessions, I was going flat-out, barely lifting through the very technical 1.2 kilometer go-kart track.

Ready to tear up the track in a full, slicks and wings open wheel Formula 4 race car

The experience was just as intense as driving the Formula 4 car.

The best part? We had an impromptu race with 10 karts going flat-out, complete with dog fights, overtaking for position, and diving into corners while defending your position. This is why racing is so fun.

3. Motul’s ester-based lubricants were thoroughly detailed, explained and demonstrated to us.

The amazing thing about Motul, particularly their Ester-Core lineup of fully-synthetic lubricants, is that it is the very same line of lubricants and chemicals which you will find in any sports car or open-wheel formula car race worldwide.

Motul has extensive experience working with Le Mans, being one of their biggest sponsors. Motul has technical partnerships with McLaren’s GT3 race teams, NISMO, TOM’s, Lexus Racing, STI, Toyota-TRD, Porsche-Kremmer, Larbre Competition, Brabus and so on. Each driving exercise highlighted what Motul products are working hardest, from the gear oil/differential oil, to the coolant, brake fluid, and of course engine oils.

4.) Even outside of the driving, the Motul technicians answered a whole lot of very technical questions specific to our needs—ultimately, this boils down to science and technical information. During the workshop in between the driving exercises, I asked the most number of questions in my group regarding the right lubricants and chemicals to use. The Motul technical staff on hand, including Motul Asia-Pacific’s new head, Takahashi Shichiro, chimed in, recommending the ideal engine oil, brake fluid, coolant and differential oil for my needs. You never get this kind of free-for-all detailed technical discussion with other lubricant manufacturers!

5.) The Motul people are real enthusiasts—in an industry that is slowly becoming obsessed with autonomous driving, finding more efficiency through less consumption, and designing safe but boring cars, Motul remains passionate and dedicated to cars and motorsports. Over drinks and meals, and during the workshop, we discussed cars, specifications, intended use plus driving, tuning and building cars and engine experiences with the Motul technicians who were not only knowledgeable about these things, but were equally excited to be talking to people who were passionate about cars. From deciding what brake fluid offers better feel without giving up too much boiling point performance, to using the right type of coolant that causes little to no corrosion inside engine blocks of varying alloys, to utilizing the right viscosity of engine oil for a high-powered engine to provide maximum protection and longevity without diminishing output, and the proper GL4 rated transmission fluid on cars with yellow-metal synchros, Motul personnel always had the answer, if not always the right lubricant or chemical, something they were also very honest and forthcoming about.

Overall I was so pumped up and ecstatic about the event that I am already bugging Motul to get me on their invite list for 2018! I’ll be packing my own racing suit next year!

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