Lubricant and fuel testing are crucial at motor races such as the International North West 200 motorcycle road race and the Italian Superbike Championship (CIV). When speed, safety, standards, and stardom are at stake, efficient and accurate testing is necessary.
The International North West 200 and CIV races are some of Europe’s largest outdoor sporting events, hosting hundreds of thousands of spectators each year. Precision motorbikes – and their daring riders – average speeds of 120 mph (190 km/h) and top speeds in excess of 200 mph (320 km/h).
Unfortunately, as with most competitions, cheating is a possibility. For motorsports, tampering with lubricants or fuel to enhance competitors’ performance can give racers an unfair advantage.
Setting fuel as the common ground
To keep the focus on the riders and the bikes, these events require each team to use a race-supplied control fuel. This ensures the race results are not influenced by differences in fuel, but truly demonstrates rider skill and bike performance. The NW 200 relies on Euro M-Sport, and the CIV uses TOTAL Italy as their official lubricant and fuel suppliers.
Accuracy, at full speed
The determination of each team’s fuel compliance must be as fast and accurate as the race itself, so race outcomes can be confirmed in real time.
In the past, lubricant and fuel analysis took days to determine. Samples were collected after the race and sent to external labs for testing. If it was determined that a competitor used adulterated lubricants or fuel, the outcome of the race was modified – ultimately postponing penalties and delaying the crowning of champions.
Today, portable, on-site instruments provide real-time analysis at the track. TOTAL Italy uses PerkinElmer’s Torion® T-9 GC-MS and Euro M-Sport uses PerkinElmer’s Spectrum™ Two FT-IR.
At the NW 200, an analytical van with the Spectrum Two system is parked within the secure parc fermé where all the bikes return after the race. This on-the-spot location makes it easy for Euro M-Sport to oversee the collection of fuel samples from the specified bikes and immediately provide them to the analytical chemist in the testing van.
Read our case study to learn more about lubricant and fuel testing at the North West 200:
Analytical results are ready less than two minutes after sample collection. “Within minutes of use at the very first practice sessions, we knew we had made the correct decision,” said Mick McCullagh, Managing Director of Euro M-Sport.
TOTAL Italy also uses a state-of-the-art-and-science analytical van to provide efficient fuel monitoring services during the race. After gaining a reference profile for the fuel used in the race, it is compared to the samples randomly taken from around 50 motorbikes at every stage of the race. If the profile is different from the reference fuel, it is determined that cheating has occurred.
Watch the webinar to learn about TOTAL’s on-site analysis at the Italian Superbike Championship: