Reliability is the key to winning championships for Engen Xtreme team
Motorsport is about competition, about getting every ounce of performance out of the machinery in order to win. An important facet of racing is often not appreciated, that of reliability.
In order to win, a race driver must finish – and finish consistently.
“Reliability has been a key component in my three consecutive Bridgestone Production Car titles,” says Michael Stephen, Engen Xtreme racing driver and 2014 championship leader. “Getting to the finish line in as many races as possible requires faith in your machinery and a whole lot of preparation, leaving nothing to chance.”
With eight rounds in a season – and two races per event – the Engen Xtreme Audi S4 Quattros don't do much mileage even when taking testing into account but every kilometre completed is at high-speed, under high loads and temperatures and hard-driving conditions.
“The modern Audi engines are extremely good,” says Stephen, who runs the Terry Moss Racing workshop. “I don't think it would have even been considered possible to open a race engine once every 18 months just a few seasons ago, yet that is now our reality.”
The Audi S4 engine is a 3.0 TFSI V6 which produces 245kW in the showroom model. The Bridgestone Production Car specification sees the engine producing 320kW at the flywheel, further restricted to 1.58 (absolute) bar boost and a 40mm air intake restrictor – and there is much more power to be had, as much as 400kW without restriction or any mechanical changes.
“In the past three seasons we have completed 120 races between our two Engen Xtreme cars and have just two DNF (did not finish) results in that time – neither of which were engine-related problems,” says Stephen.
Despite this the team does an engine check every 18 months just to ensure that all is still well with the internals – and even then is it just a precaution.
“This is very good for a race engine and an engine block can last us as much as four seasons,” says Stephen. “It simply isn't possible to ask an engine to perform like this if you don't look after it, so we have a strict maintenance routine and there are only certain products which are used in the workshop.”
The V6 engine is kept running smoothly by Engen Xtreme 5W40, a fully synthetic oil. The gearbox and differentials are lubricated by Engen Gearlube EP LS 90 gearbox oil and Engen Grease GP is used to keep various moving parts operating smoothly.
The Engen Xtreme Audi S4 Quattro is kept running at the right temperature by Engen Supercool LL and the water-based Engen Degreaser EF helps the race technicians keep everything clean.
“Due to the Bridgestone Production Car Championship rules, our Engen Xtreme Audi SA Quattro race cars run a specially blended Engen 98 octane which uses advanced fuel technology. Fuel technology has reached the point where we simply don’t have to use the high octane fuels of the past.” says Stephen.