In the search for that extra couple MPHs, NASCAR cars will forego oil filtration and cooling to eke out more power.
Racecar builder Stephan Papadakis was recently at SRI Performance in Moorseville, NC and couldn’t pass up this oil filter adapter NASCAR teams use strictly for qualifying to gain a competitive edge.Embed from Getty Images
Check out Papadakls’s Youtube short below.
NASCAR qualifying sessions mean the fastest cars that run the quickest laps have a better chance to earn pole position or close to it on race day.
To get cars running as fast as possible, NASCAR teams pull out all the tricks to, within the bounds of the rule book, make their engines and cars run that much faster.
Whereas on race day where engines must last literally hundreds of miles running at 10/10ths, when qualifying, NASCAR engineers tweak their engines for more power, bypassing systems for race longevity in mind for a bit more performance.
Enter the oil filter adapter bypass Papadakis just bought.
Presumably all NASCAR teams run these bypass valves and, as the salesperson explains, by allowing the car’s engine to bypass filtration and external oil cooling, not all that necessary for the handful of qualifying laps, there’s less parasitic drag on the engine.
The engine, in turn uses less energy to move the oil which leaves more energy for the wheels.
Marginal but racing, anything’s something
On these big, nearly 6L naturally aspirated big block engines, bypassing filtration and cooling is presumably good for between 10-20 horsepower compared to a raceday-spec engine.
And, if the oil runs hotter, engineers may be able to tweak the tuning to take advantage of that thinner, more viscous oil.
That extra horsepower means the difference between a truly competitive qualifying lap and a back-of-the-pack slow one.
Papadakis plans to tear one apart to see how it works and I’m curious to see what he finds.
I’ll definitely update this blog post when he does.
Are there any other tricks for qualifying that you know of?
Let me know in the comments below!
“More viscous” oil is the opposite of “thinner oil”.