The Pony Wars Unsung Heroes: A Look At Fuel, Ignition, And Oil

Often when you start an automotive build, it’s easy to be ecstatic about the big stuff. For example, the components that make noise, power and torque. You might do a ton of research to see what the best cam is for your newly-built combination that will bolt in your prized possession. This will lead you down a rabbit hole of decisions from pistons, intakes, heads, exhaust, and on and on. Normally, its not until the very end of the build that you realize you have another important series of decisions to make. Even though some items are small in cost compared to the bigger items, they are just as important and if the wrong combination is used, it could be detrimental the entire build. 

When we got down to business on the Pony Wars cars, it was time to make a decision on three key items: we needed an oil that would perform under harsh racing conditions, an ignition that would ignite whatever combustion and boost levels we had, and a consistent fuel that would make repeatable power on every lap and pass. If any of these three items failed, so would our competition amongst the two pony cars. 

The Ignition

For all of our ignition needs we reached out to E3 Spark Plugs. E3 provides spark plugs, plug wires, and ignition components for everything from cars, trucks, and motorcycles, to powersports vehicles and even lawnmowers. One of the obvious differences in this plug is the ground strap. The antiquated j-wire electrode has been removed and replaced with the DiamondFire ground electrode. According to E3, this design can provide performance advantages such as increased power, improved fuel efficiency and a reduction in hazardous emissions which can contribute to global warming. With all of that said, you can basically make more power while helping out the environment. For the Camaro and the Mustang we utilized the DiamondFire spark plugs for our boosted combinations. We also used a set of coils from E3, as well, to make sure the Chevy had enough pop for the large displacement engine under the pressurized cylinders.

The Fuel

VP Racing Fuels was started in the garage of Steve Burns’ parents house in 1970. The self-taught chemist was convinced that the racing fuel suppliers were missing the mark when fueling for optimum horsepower. After Steve’s first fuel was developed, the notorious C-12, VP Racing Fuels was born, in 1974. VP is now recognized by the world as a leader in race fuel technology. With over 70 blends of fuel for choice, this was an easy selection for us when searching for an unleaded spec fuel for our cars. The fuel of choice for us was the O2-friendly unleaded 100 octane, MS 100. While VP has other blends that might have made more power, this oxygenated fuel is used as the spec fuel for IMSA sports car racing. The advantage to a spec fuel in our case is that it makes for a level playing field in the 15K portion of the Pony Wars shootout. Every drum is the same octane and makeup regardless of it being manufactured at different times or in different batches. Consistency is key for this competition.

Lubrication

For the life-blood of our competition cars we looked no further that Royal Purple. Royal Purple has been in the oil industry for over 30 years and has a spectacular name in the automotive industry. What started off as a product to solve chronic bearing failures in large compressors, has turned into one of the leading oil manufactures of today. For the Camaro we chose Royal Purple HPS in a 5W-30 (PN 36530) and an Extended Life oil filter (PN 10-48), Out back, in the differential, we went with MaxGear gear oil in a 75W-90 (PN 01301). The Mustang received XRP 5w20 motor oil weight oil, Royal Purple Extended Life oil filter 9 (PN 20-500) and the Max Gear (PN 01301) oil as well but in a 75w-140 gear lube. Because Royal Purple oils are a premium synthetic oil, the company claims they are less volatile and maintain a better viscosity than their competitors. The result is a better-performing oil at both low and high temperatures. This will also offer better mileage, fewer oil changes, and cleaner engine operation.

In the end all of these products performed flawlessly. Each one did exactly what it was supposed to do, but we didn’t have any doubt that this would not be the case. After all, this is why we chose the companies we did. They are proven players in our industry and are all experts in their field. So next time you’re at the parts store picking up some spark plugs, oil, or fuel you will know what brands to look for. 

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About the author

Brian Havins

A gearhead for life, Brian is obsessed with all things fast. Banging gears, turning wrenches, and praying while spraying are just a few of his favorite things.
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