Tag Archives: Gulf

Support Motorsport Sponsors?

This post is about motor oil and the holiday season shopping, shall we say- opportunities? Yes! It’s all about great deals on products from companies that support Motorsports through their sponsorship. I don’t know about others but when it comes to effectiveness of Motorsport advertising, I’m a sucker for buying things that are promoted on race cars. In this case it is Castrol EDGE motor oil for my Miata. I think I actually bought too much!

A little back story… I have been posting a lot of Miata.net about what oil is recommended for our MX-5’s. The answer is – surprising! People say it doesn’t really matter what you use in the car as long as it is changed regularly because most modern oils sold in the US right now are “good” and therefore no one is better than the other. That said many on the forums use Mobil 1 in their cars. And Mobil 1 sponsors quite a lot of Motorsport. So like sheep I went ahead and bought two 5QT jugs within the first year of ownership of my car and that is what I used. Until I became puzzled by the dark/black look of that oil when I changed it at 5,000 mile intervals. It did not seem right to me especially since Mobil 1 advertised the oil is good until up to 15,000 miles. Yikes!

The two Mobil 1 5QT’s that I bought were mysteriously priced low, at just $5 a jug… which is ridiculous. Normally the price is $25 at Walmart and $35 everywhere else from AutoZone to Advance Auto Parts. My alternative to Mobil in the second year of ownership turned out to be even cheaper to source. I decided to go with Pennzoil Platinum because again Pennzoil sponsored a lot of racing, some people on the forums swore by it (although there weren’t too many of those people, not nearly as much as Mobil 1 evangelists) and it was fairly cheap! Regularly priced at $25 to $30 from Walmart to the parts stores, but constantly on sale and with promotions from both Pennzoil and other sources that at some point cost me as low as $4 for a 5QT jug or in one case, I basically was paid to take the 5QT jug from the store after all the promos and rebates. (Pennzoil is famous for it’s $10 rebate or rather $2 per QT rebate up to $48 per calendar year, which is a lot of jugs). In 2016 I used Pennzoil Platinum exclusively. I liked it so much that I even got the Pennzoil Platinum High Mileage ATF for my JWS-3309 Aisin Transmission. Mostly 5W-20 felt amazing during the spring, summer and fall months. But using 0W-20 in the winter made the engine sound louder, which really perplexed me. I bought another 5W-20 jug to use later but also started considering alternatives, and now decided to start sourcing Castrol EDGE to try next.

There is a post I made two years ago after my last Mobil 1 oil change that I was contemplating trying Pennzoil Platinum and Castrol EDGE, and sharing that plan in a post created a goal which I am now going to meet. In 2017 I will run Castrol EDGE exclusively in my car and I’ve already sourced enough oil for 3 oil changes which is basically the 15,000 miles I plan to do in the coming year. I decided to go with the 5W-20 weight standard black bottle and not the gold extended performance bottle since I am only daily driving the car and not tracking it or using it in any kind of extreme situations. I do plan to make several trips to Florida which will rack the mileage up quickly, but also probably won’t require me to make as frequent changes as short trips in New Jersey would require with stop and go traffic, cold weather, etc. I am very much looking forward to giving this oil a go, and seeing how I like it compared to Mobil 1 and Pennzoil Platinum I already used. So far the standard has been set pretty high, but I have heard nothing but good things about Castrol and they are one of the big sponsors of the IMSA Mazda Prototype program which makes me feel like I’m supporting it directly now.

Price wise though I think the retailer is losing money selling me the oil because I’ve been taking advantage extensively of the Sears/Kmart ShopYourWay rewards program. Every time they sent me 5,000, 6,000 or 10,000 in points (where 1,000 points = $1) I immediately redeem them for another 1QT bottle or 5QT jug of the Castrol EDGE oil which they have in stock. Regular price for the 1QT bottle is $7.99+ tax. (Which seems ridiculous) Last one I bought with the 6,000 surprise point redemption only cost me $0.87 cents. Before that I redeemed 10,000 points and $5.50 for two bottles. The 5QT jugs which Kmart sells for $37 regular price I paid about $7 bux out of pocket after purchasing it in store on sale for $22.99+ tax, and redeeming some regular points and 4,000 surprise points. All in all an oil change will cost me under $10 for the oil and another $9 for the K&N HP-1002 filter which I sourced from Walmart. The good part about the four K&N filters I bought they were still Made in USA and not the newer style which are made in Korea (and for some reason people are complaining that their quality has dropped).

Now all I got to do is keep driving more so I can use up the oil quickly. 2017 is going to be an awesome year…

I should mention some of the other companies I support by using their products thanks to all the Motorsport advertising I’ve been exposed to:

  • BFGoodrich tires – I have two sets, one summer one winter
  • Sunoco Ultra 93 fuel – official fuel of NASCAR & IndyCar
  • BP 93 Ultimate – I know they sponsor loads of Rally racing
  • Mobil 1 lubricants in rear end, power steering, etc.
  • K&N oil and air filters, also official sponsor of NASCAR
  • Bilstein shocks – huge sponsor especially during Nurburgring 24h

I’m sure there’s more that I’ve used or will use in the future.

For those of you that support Motorsport sponsors in your shopping – kudos to that! If you don’t, and use the argument – why pay more when there are cheaper options? Well, as I’ve demonstrated above, it is possible to use brand name and pay less, way less. You just need to shop around… for me it’s a challenge that I enjoy! I especially like buying branded gift cards, like those from BP, ExxonMobil or Sunoco with 5% to 10% discount for each dollar spend, making my expensive Sunoco Ultra 93 fuel (which is typically more than a no name brand) a bit cheaper… considering fuel is about $2.60/gal at the moment, I’m paying 26 cents less a gallon, which brings the price right down to a low-cost option, and I’m buying a better product! That makes me feel good.

Support Motorsport Sponsors, please ūüôā

Best Premium Fuel Brand for Top Gas Mileage?

One of my favorite talking points with car enthusiasts when speaking about my Mazda MX-5 Miata is the awesome fuel mileage I get, which usually results in some snarky comment how you’re not meant to notice gas mileage in a sports car… Well, on my latest Canadian Road Trip to marshal at Mosport I set out to test whether cheaper/lower ranked Speedway fuel was better than BP premium fuel I typically use. I noticed this phenomena on my last 3,000+ mile road trip to Florida and with 1,000+ miles done on this trip it was easy to see what was what. ¬†Or so I thought.

What did I discover?

Something most people probably already know… there’s little difference between the different brands of fuel and gas mileage can vary from the same brand gotten at different stations, depending on weather conditions, driving style, road terrain, etc.

I found that Speedway fuel is sufficient for me to use on most road trips where Speedway fuel is available because it does yield better gas mileage than ultimate 93 from BP (the one closest to my house).

However, when driving around town I find BP fuel gives far better performance than Speedway gas does which almost seems sluggish.

And those findings may make sense to some, while others will probably brush this very unscientific observation off. Speedway doesn’t have as many additives, and as such it probably burns at a slower rate which yields decent gas mileage when the car is cruising at highway speeds. However, when used in stop and go traffic especially during times where peppy acceleration is required it doesn’t perform as well. While BP fuel has more additives and therefore performs better when the right foot gives the gas pedal a workout, but on longer trips on the highway it is burned at a quicker rate without necessarily providing any additional performance boost. Or so I think…

The figures from my last Road Trip to Canada are as follows:

5/18 speedway paramus 9.760 @ 2.459/gal = $24.00
5/19 speedway cicero 7.779 @ 2.699/gal = $21.00
5/19 shell canada 27.155 @ 1.289/L = C$35.00
5/23 petro-canada 14.929 @ 1.239/L = C$18.50
5/23 speedway cicero 7.595 @ 2.699/gal = $20.50
5/24 speedway paramus 8.634 @ 2.399/gal = $20.71

Based on the conversion rate at the time, I spent $126.96 USD on a 1,155 mile Road Trip at an average of almost 33 mpg. I spent $86 USD and $54 CAD. I filled up 24 gallons in US and just over 11 in Canada, or better yet I put in 42 Liters in Canada (which probably wasn’t necessary considering I paid almost $10 US more per tank fuel up in Canada than I do here in New Jersey. But I did want to try their gas, and specifically Ultra94 from Petro-Canada which was advertised on the windshield banners of every Porsche Carerra Cup car racing this weekend. That fuel yielded the best mileage of the trip, 33.5 mpg while the rest of the averages brought the total down.

mazda mx-5 miata canadian road trip search for petro-canada ultra 94 fuel in ontario 6

9.760 gallons  Рstarted out with a full tank in NJ
7.779 gallons 255.4 miles / 7.779 = 32.83 mpg fill up in NY
7.174 gallons  232.0 miles / 7.174 = 32.34 mpg fill up in ON
3.943 gallons 179.5 miles fill up in ON
7.595 gallons 207.1 miles fill up in NY
386.6 miles  / 11.538 gallons = 33.51mpg combined ON+NY
8.634 gallons 281.3 miles / 8.634 = 32.58mpg Рlast fill up in NJ
——— average 32.815 mpg —–

Why was this fuel mileage much lower (by 2 to 3 mpg’s) than the trip to Florida? Because the road terrain going up to Canada takes me via the Catskills and Appalachian mountains, and it wasn’t uncommon for the car to downshift just to negotiate some of the steeper hills along the way. The most flat road was in Canada following lake Ontario.

I am very pleased with this gas mileage. The car has just hit 45,000 miles total. I am running Pennzoil Platinum full synthetic which has just hit 3,000 miles, I will run it for about another 5,000 miles before changing to the winter blend 0W-20 vs. 5W-20.

speedway premium gas comparison to bp ultimate

While generally speaking I stuck to the highway most of the time, keeping it at or just above the local posted speed limit between 60 and 75mph in US and 100 to 110 km/h in Canada… I did deviate a few times to get food… like this highly recommended stop at Heid’s of Liverpool near Syracuse to pick up a couple of hot dogs for the road. They were delicious!

heid's hot dogs syracuse miata mx-5 road trip

What is the Best Fuel?

Time for a very unscientific experiment to determine which local fuel option will yield the best fuel mileage with my MX-5 Miata.

People often laugh when I talk about¬†MPG’s and Miatas. Who cares? It’s a sports car, the fuel mileage is irrelevant… but after getting 36mpg on my recent 3,000 mile road trip, I’m quite impressed with fuel efficiency of my Mazda and would like to keep the MPG’s optimized as not all fuels are created equal.

What fuel I use is determined by what deal I could get on purchasing a fuel gift card on eBay. I’ve spend hundreds of dollars now buying discounted fuel gift cards and I think it’s the way to go. Most frequently I buy a $100 eBay Gift Card when they go on sale for $95 or $90 with 5% or 10% discount. Then I use that gift card to buy a $100 fuel gift card with 5%, 8%, 10% or 20% discount. Yes, there are that many discount options popping up on eBay now and again.

BP has been the most frequent card I’ve bought. Usually with around 10%-20% discount… so every gallon I put in the car I buy with a 10 to 20 percent discount, which¬†combined with the BP rewards program yields a pretty good discount on brand name fuel. But like I mentioned earlier not all fuels are created equal… and I’m not entirely convinced that BP, despite being ranked Top Tier, is any better than Speedway for example, which isn’t Top Tier. So I’m going to run an experiment¬†on¬†a road trip using Speedway rather than BP.

Using my 1,000 mile Road Trip to Canada tomorrow, I’ll be able to run at least half of the trip on Speedway fuel. The method is simple, I run the tank down until it’s time to refuel, then I fill up and use the odometer (Trip meter) to divide the total mileage done by the number of gallons from the fill up. So for example if I do 300 miles on a trip and fill up 10 gallons, I get 30mpg ¬†(300miles / 10gal = 30mpg).

With the last trip using BP fuel I got slightly less than that, 29mpg – which was pretty disappointing. I was hoping for something higher. Ironically after filling up at Citgo in rural Upstate New York near Watkins Glen I got a higher gas mileage than I did on New Jersey BP gas, 31.6mpg… which is significant, nearly 3mpg difference, or on a tank of 10 gallons that’s 30 miles more!

So lets see what happens with Speedway… if it yields better MPG’s I’m switching from BP and not looking back!

For those times when Speedway isn’t viable or available I’ve bought Sunoco and ExxonMobil gift cards, and on a recent trip to Palmer Motorsports Park to work with NER I was able to cash in my TIPs for a Shell gift card. So I’m prepared on all fronts, in US anyway. It will be interesting what kind of mileage I get on Canadian gas (which is significantly more expensive than US gas… like $10 per tank more).

The plan… I’ve just topped off at my nearby Speedway with nearly 10 gallons of Premium 93 octane. I will drive 250 miles to Cicero, New York where there’s a Speedway right off the Interstate 81, top off… then fill up again in Canada at Shell or Petro-Canada in Bowmanville which should last me for the duration of my trip there, and most of the way back to Cicero hopefully. Then the rest of the way home to New Jersey I’ll run Speedway gas again. So three tank-fulls will yield a good gauge of fuel mileage.

Looking for Contacts in Qatar to Marshal at Losail Int’l Circuit

My goal for 2016 is to marshal in one or two new countries that I haven’t volunteered at before. I’ve published posts about my “Wish List” and all the cool places I want to experience for myself, and I definitely want to add Qatar to that list.

Does anyone have a contact I could chat with about organizing a trip for a future event?

I would most likely want to participate in their round of the MotoGP race, although I am open to the possibility of volunteering a smaller event as well. I have already experienced Bahrain International Circuit and Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, and will likely participate at the Dubai Autodorome in the near future. Losail seems like a logical choice to add to my wish list.

I’ve also worked with a Portuguese marshal from Estoril Circuit outside of Lisbon who proudly wore his Losail hat from a MotoGP event he worked there, and he highly recommended that track. So now’s the challenge to organize the trip for me. Not just the marshaling bit but also flights, accommodation and transportation to get to the circuit. I have set foot on the Qatari soil the last time I volunteered both WEC in Bahrain and the Gulf 12 hour at Yas Marina in the UAE, but never officially visited the country, I was there in transit several times because of the Dubai – Bahrain connection, as well as the Dubai – Kuala Lumpur connection where I went to volunteer the Asian Le Mans Series between the two Middle East events.

Anyway… so far I’ve found the official marshals e-mail on the Losail web site:¬†http://www.circuitlosail.com/index.php?page=marshals¬† or rather Qatar Motor & Motorcycle Federation web site, but I’m looking for a local contact who I could ask all the questions I have before signing up for one of their events. I think with my plan to do a DTM race next year in either Austria or the Netherlands, it would be neat to diversify and go to a region I haven’t been to since 2013. The plan also includes some eastern European tracks like Brno in the Czech Republic and Hungaroring in Budapest, Hungary. Fingers crossed things go as planned!

Please respond with suggestions below or contact me privately. Cheers!