We recently got a call from the crew at Nutec Racing Fuels & Oils, offering up the chance to try out their race fuel at Carlsbad Raceway. With the long-term future of Carlsbad in some doubt, it seemed like an excellent opportunity to visit the classic venue and dredge up memories of legendary riders like DeCoster, Wolsink, and Lackey blasting around the track on their 500cc two-strokes. Once we arrived at Carlsbad, a quick look around revealed that the course itself seemed to have undergone very few changes from the days when it annually hosted the 500cc USGP. Of course, seeing Marty Smith, who had come out to put in some practice laps on his own Honda, only added to the sense of déjà vu.
After unloading bikes and getting suited up, we met up with Lionel Roux, Nutec’s Director of North American Operations. To give you an idea of the global scope of Nutec, they originated in Japan, opened their U.S. offices about three years ago, have an R & D department in Europe, and produce the fuels in Houston, Texas.
Lionel was a virtual encyclopedia of fuel knowledge, and gave us the lowdown on what he felt makes Nutec unique. “We build this stuff from scratch…it’s a synthetic blend, really. We don’t refine anything, we just blend it. A lot of other manufacturers are thinking a lot about cost. So a lot of the 110 octane product you’re going to find is nothing but pump gas with lead in it.”
“Briefly, lead is an octane booster. You take an unleaded blend that’s say 95 octane, and add four grams of lead in it, and you’re going to bump up the octane, depending on the composition, up to 105 or so. The lead is usually good for five to ten octane points. It also has some lubrication effect. Nutec is more like a blend of pure chemicals. Ten percent of this, 20 percent of that.”
“Out of a good blend, you can get even more performance than you can from a good pipe. On a stock 125 it’s probably around three horsepower. It also offers better rideability, better overrev, and better torque. Powerwise it’s a big advantage, and not a big expense. Yes, it’s expensive for gas, but out of a weekend, you’re going to use maybe two or three gallons and you’ll have a three horsepower advantage over your competitors.”
Nutec’s product line features a variety of fuels for stock or modified bikes. “For racers that have a higher compression ratio, we have higher octane for them. For people who run stock motors, we’ve got some stuff that makes an even bigger difference. In their case, it’s more the combustion speed and energy value. In the Special 5 and Pro MX blend, we use a lot of the chemicals that have been banned in Formula One racing like eight years ago. It burns extremely fast.”
“The big news is that we’re coming up with a non-AMA-legal fuel for all the club guys. It’s going to be extremely powerful, and somewhere between $7 and $9 a gallon. It’s going to be called Special X.”
Among the other tidbits of info that we got from Lionel was that American Suzuki and Escondido Cycle Center are already signed up to use their fuel in ’03, and that they have a lot of other deals up in the air.
Something else the folks from Nutec were excited about were a new graphic design for their fuel cans. Troy Lee updated the familiar Celeste Green (picture Bianchi bicycles) Nutec cans with a set of flames that looked as home in the 619 area code as they would in the 909. Actually, it sounds like there will be a variety of designs in the future, with the flame design being the first of many.
After filling the tank on his KTM 525 with Nutec Special 5, Big E put in some laps said the most immediately noticeable difference was in throttle response and ease of starting. He also said that it ran cooler. After several tankfuls, he also noticed that there was virtually no residue at the exhaust tip. IIt burned extremely clean.
When asked about availability, Lionel told us, “We sell direct to dealers, and we’re trying to set up as many dealers as possible. For now we’ve got about 100 all around the United States. We’re definitely looking for some more dealers. Hopefully our new can design will help our visibility.”
For more information on Nutec’s line of fuel and oil, check out www.nutecdivision.com.