Expert tips on finding and transporting race fuel

By Staff Writer
Dec 14, 2022 | Sunoco, Fuel Tips, Sponsored Content, Race Fuel | Posted in News and Notes | From the Dec. 2022 issue | Never miss an article

Photography Credit: Kevin Adolf

Fueling up your race car, sadly, doesn’t involve driving up to the pump and alerting the attendant with a toot of the horn or the ding of a bell. There are a few extra steps involved.

Step 1: Find a Dealer.

“Racing fuels have a dedicated distribution network,” says Zachary J. Santner, senior specialist of quality at Sunoco. It’s an important measure to protect the fuels and keep them consistent, he explains, noting how race products don’t pass through the same distribution network used for the huge variety of street fuels. Sunoco’s race fuels are all transported via truck, he continues, with the full lineup originating from the same refinery in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania.

To find a dealer–brick-and-mortar or online–Santner points to the Sunoco Race Fuels website. Fuels are offered via 5-gallon pails and 54-gallon drums as well as bulk sales from a dispenser–like what you’d find at a typical gas station. “The bulk is a really good option for a lot of people,” he says, explaining how it usually comes with the lowest retail prices. 

An area full of motorsports activity, like Charlotte, will yield a wide range of suppliers: speed shops, gas stations and race tracks. When looking for Sunoco Race Fuels close to GRM’s home base near Daytona Beach, Florida, we also found some additional, unexpected results–like a Sunoco gas station just north of us, near a motocross track, offering a pump for Standard, the brand’s 110-octane race fuel, as well as a Carquest auto parts store not far from the Florida International Rally & Motorsport Park listing 17 different products.

Step 2: Transport Fuel.

Those not purchasing the fuel trackside will need to transport it. DOT regs don’t require any special training or documentation for hauling up to 1000 pounds of fuel–that’s two full drums, Santner notes. 

Step 3: Dispense Fuel.

Use a proper drum pump or drum siphon intended for gas–not something you brewed up–to move the product, Santner advises. And he offers one last tip: Bring a funnel. “A lot of times, it comes in handy.”

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Rodan SuperDork
11/30/22 12:36 p.m.

So "expert tips" is a Sunoco ad and "bring a funnel"? 

C'mon... GRM is better than this.

frenchyd MegaDork
11/30/22 1:01 p.m.

In reply to Rodan :

Actually for a lot of newbies to using racing fuel instead of pump fuel it is a big help.   Yes they mentioned one brand but as we now know there are other brands around. 
      Plus places we may not know about.  Snow mobles for example. They tend  to use race fuel because yes they are raced. Motorcycles, race shops gas stations etc. 

Then talk to others.   There is a serious difference between pump E85 and racing E85.   E85 in the pump tends to use as low as 51% ethanol and an even lower octane gasoline. In order to keep prices as low as possible.  
     Racing E85 uses 15% race fuel and 85% ethanol.   That's what you want if you're pushing really high boost 20-30 40 PSI  not 85 octane gas and 51% ethanol. 
     Be aware that Indy cars use 100% ethanol and no intercoolers.  In fact they used to use 85PSI boost and no intercoolers.  
      Why not intercoolers?  1 weight ( not just the cooler, but the tube and hoses etc) 2 drag, 200+ MPH adds a lot of drag. 3 restriction of flow through an intercooler air does not like to change direction ( especially at the velocity race engines). ( and it's simpler) 

 Remember compressing air heats it up but Alcohol  cools it way down.   

SSpiffy New Reader
11/30/22 1:39 p.m.

Best deal I found for race fuel was at a motorcycle dealership. Beat anywhere else around me.

200mph Reader
11/30/22 2:06 p.m.

And... get rid of your clear or translucent white fuel jugs.  The "light ends" of race gas are very sensitive to ultra-violet light.  Your fuel will degrade quickly if left outside in one of those jugs.

Some elements including manganese will separate out of fuel exposed to sunlight... it will look like flecks of rust at the bottom of the container.  Agitate (stir) the fuel to disperse it back into solution.

Keep fuel in an opaque container, and keep the container out of direct exposure to the sun (inside is best).

Rodan SuperDork
11/30/22 2:08 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

Did  you read a different article?  Nothing you mentioned is in the online article.  The info about pump vs. race E85 is useful, however.

200mph has provided a useful tip as well.  Hopefully the thread will continue in that vein.  yes

te72 HalfDork
12/1/22 10:15 a.m.

Surprised nobody mentioned a fire extinguisher...

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