Octane Booster

RallyCross classes and rules discussion.

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Octane Booster

Postby Jerry Doctor » Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:40 am

The following posts appeared in the thread on RallyCross car classification:
Flyboy888 wrote:That all sounds great! Im deffinitly interested in the school, sounds like an awesome rallycross weekend!! I'll have to get a hotel in Omaha and stay the whole weekend :) I however had another rule related question i couldnt find on my own. I was wanting to use an off the shelf octain booster. I found the rule about the fuel having to be any readily availible pump gas, but i didn't see anything about fuel additives. Anyone help?

marti wrote:I dont think it would be an issue since you can run E85 in stock class, and thats basically 100 octane fuel. It looks like the current rule on fuel is getting change to add in biodiesel, and they're also crossing out the "at the pump" part. To be sure though I'd message Jerry Doctor, he's our divisional safety steward and would be able to give you an official ruling on this.

I then received a PM with this question:
Flyboy888 wrote:Hello, i was reffered to ask you this question. Im looking to run my subaru in the PA class in june and was wondering what the regulations or restrictions were on using off the shelf octane booster.

I've moved this to its own thread. I thought this might be a question some others might like answered. I also thought some of you might be interested to see how quickly a nice simple question can turn into a quagmire when you are dealing with SCCA rules. I began by looking at the 2012 RX rule book. I knew there was a change this year in the fuel rules. The "readily available pump gas" requiement now just says "readily available." What I couldn't find was a statement about octane boosters. After looking through the rule book several times - and thoroughly confusing myself - I sent this e-mail to the chairman of the RX Board:

j.doctor wrote:After 42 years of reading SCCA rule books, I fear I can no longer answer a simple question without a major self debate.

Can you use an off-the-shelf octane booster in Prepared RX classes?

The 2012 rules do not address fuel additives and the general SCCA rule has always been, if it doesn't say you can then you can't. However, the rules say "alternative fuels" are OK if approved in advance by the event safety steward. Does the addition of an octane booster make it an alternative fuel and legal if pre-approved? That, however, is in stock category. Fuels are not addressed in the prepared section of the rule book. But it does say stock category modifications are allowed in prepared. Is this considered a modification? If a tree falls in the forest and there isn't a safety steward there to see it...

I quickly got an answer from him. Did he respond "yes" or "no?" As you've probably already guessed, neither. Most of his response was a series of questions. "Does it fit in the stock fuel tank? hehe. What if it was used 10 tanks ago? Are we going to test for fuel doping? Is there any language in Solo to cover this?" He also offered a bit of practical advice for this situation. "Don't ask, don't tell."

SCCA does do fuel testing in racing, usually on a random basis unless there is reason to suspect a specific problem. It is time consuming, expensive and requires trained personnel to do the testing. No way is RX going to start down that path. Without fuel testing, how do you enforce a rule against octane boosters? I have always believed you shouldn't pass rules you can't enforce.

Bottom line... and a word of caution: You won't get in trouble for using an octane booster at a Nebraska Region event. Having said that, WHY do you NEED an octane booster? I know, for example, Subaru says to use 93 octane gas in the STi. The highest I see around here on the pumps is 91. No problem. On the other hand, if you need it because of engine modifications you've done, depending on your class, those mods could get you protested.

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Re: Octane Booster

Postby Mark Walker » Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:22 pm

Jerry Doctor wrote:No way is RX going to start down that path.

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Re: Octane Booster

Postby Flyboy888 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:09 am

Hey thanks for clearing it up. I personally don't think I NEED it but rather want to put it in my tank before I head up there so my engine will run cleaner and smoother, maybe get a bit more power. Maybe ill just use some fuel system cleaners.
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Re: Octane Booster

Postby atdewey » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:01 pm

Just to add to the confusion, you should read up on fuel additives before adding them to your tank. Most do absolutely nothing and some can decrease performance. As for as octane goes, "a common misconception is that power output or fuel efficiency can be improved by burning fuel of higher octane than that specified by the engine manufacturer. The power output of an engine depends in part on the energy density of the fuel being burnt. Fuels of different octane ratings may have similar densities, but because switching to a higher octane fuel does not add more hydrocarbon content or oxygen, the engine cannot develop more power."
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