Racing Fuels FAQ

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Storage Tips for Elf Racing Fuel
  • Don't store fuel in jerry cans or vehicles for extended periods: return fuel into Elf fuel drums.
  • Keep drums inside / under cover
  • Clearly mark the top of the drum that it contains racing fuel
  • Record how much fuel is inside the drum
  • Ensure the cap is tight
  • Apply tape over the cap to stop tampering
  • Keep stagnet water away from top of drum

If the above steps are followed, there is no reason why your fuel will not last for extended periods of time.  

If you are using fuel for the first time in a while, first check the quality of the inside of the drum with a torch, the sides of the drum should be silver, the fuel should be clear,  

If the outside of the drum is rusty, take caution.

Contact your local Elf agent immediately if you have any concerns.

What is the shelf life of an Elf Racing Fuel - how long will it last?

This is the most common question for Elf racing fuels, the answer is simple: We expect that the fuel will last as long as you need to use it. Very few cases of "off" Elf fuel have been recorded, often the drums will rust out before the fuel goes "off"

Fuel in a drum stores very well compared with fuel in an underground tank, above ground tank or ISOtainer.

Drums are sealed to oxygen which results in a stable condition within the drum.

Elf fuel can be used three or more years after purchased provided that the storage conditions as outlined above have been accounted for.

Why would an Elf racing fuel increase the performance of my race engine?

High RON, MON and Oxygen in a good quality fuel will make a world of difference.Tuning to Elf fuel will increase both torque and horsepower plus protect your engine against knock/pinging and detonation.

A high oxygen content is a design function of Elf racing fuels. This results in increased combustion speed and efficiency, resulting in more power and torque.

Why change from regular pump fuel to a racing fuel?
  • Elf Racing Fuels are products scientifically blended for competitors who prepare their vehicles to the highest professional standards.
  • Competitors running in state or national series events also need to understand that the Pump Fuel available throughout the different states can be significantly different in quality, tune and performance. Often resulting in a blown / damaged engine.
  • The benefits of running Elf fuel that is produced to racing specifications means the customer is buying a consistent blend of quality fuel at all times.
  • Elf racing fuel is designed to be a consistent quality fuel and provide more power.
  • Elf distributors offer support and assistance during major race and rally events.
What's in Elf racing fuel that is not in pump fuel?

To begin the crude oil and base petrol available in Europe is of far higher quality than what is available in Australia. Also the technology and investment in refineries and distilation plants is far superior in Europe than the outdated and underfunded facilitiies in Australia.

The best quality base petrol is made available to the refining team at Elf in France, then during the refining process which takes up to three times longer than producing pump fuel, Aromatics, Oxygen, DIPE, MTBE and Olefins are blended with the fuel.

These components are no secret, a majority of the marketing material for Elf racing fuels discloses this information.


Aromatics are fuel molecules that contain at least one beneze ring; common Aromatics include benzene, toluene and xylene.

The FIA sets very strict limits on benzene and aromatic content, Elf racing fuels are produced to the latest FIA and environmental standards. The European regulations for fuels are far more stringent than in Australia. Fuel with Aromatic content can increase engine deposits and increase tail pipe including toxic benzene emissions.

Research has found benzene to be a carcinogen (cancer causing) therefore the FIA and the Australian Government alike are pushing for a reduction of the use of benzene as an additive in racing fuel.


Elf racing fuels do use MTBE and DIPE to increase octane and oxygen during the refining process.


Olefins in the atmosphere contribute to the ground level ozone formation (smog). While obviously a reduction in smog should be paramount for all corporations, a 2005 government research paper into the racing fuel industry and its impact on the environment found that both leaded and unleaded racing fuel account for 0.3% of the total petrol consumed within Australia annually. As per MTBE and DIPE the FIA are strict in regards to the content levels of Olefins in racing fuels.

Facts regarding MTBE and DIPE in fuel:

MTBE mixes readily with water and would contaminate if MTBE was to enter groundwater or drinking water.

It is true that there are bans on MTBE and serious restrictions on the storage of this dangerous chemical due to the danger of pure MTBE leaking during storage.

When MTBE and or DIPE are blended in formulation with Hydrogen (to produce petrol) these components can not mix with water easily.

As Elf racing fuels are not produced in Australia, there is no storage of any volumes of MTBE or DIPE.

Government research has also concluded that restrictions on MTBE will leave refiners with no choice but to increase the volumes of aromatics such as sulphur and benzene which are considered far worse for their negative health impact.

Sorry boat racers: most Elf racing fuels contain greater than 1% MTBE and can NOT be used in watercraft on fresh water.

Are Elf racing fuels allowed to be used on Australian roads?

All fuels to be imported or sold in Australia must be made known to the Australian Federal Government (Department of Heritage and Environment (DEH)) the specifications must be lodged, taxes and duties must be paid during the importation process. Elf racing fuel is of subject to this process.

Research the web at and you will note that Elf racing fuels have applied for: a Variation of the Fuel Standard (Petrol) Determination 2001 to permit the supply of specialist racing fuels. Variation of the Aromatics, Oxygen, DIPE, MTBE and Olefins parameters.

As the Elf racing fuels are unleaded and are known to the DEH, the fuel can be used for motorsport purposes. Note that all agencies listed on this website are registered as suppliers within the Fuel Quality divisions of Australian government.

Why does the quality and octane ratings of Pump Fuel vary?

Because of the variety of engines it is possible for a petrol manufacturer to come up with a fuel that has a high RON, but a lower than expected MON. Although it looks normal on the pump, and is labeled “98 octane” it may perform badly. However on another day the same company may make its fuel out of a different blend to get the same RON but a different MON.

The cause of the variance in quality is due to the fact that Australian Oil companies are producing millions of litres of fuel for the purpose of supplying road cars in everyday transport. The motorsport market is very small when compared to the total quantity of fuel sold. To improve the production/quality control process would simply be too expensive. Very little consideration is given to the fact that the pump fuel is going to be used in racing.

98 octane pump fuel is the best quality fuel available to Australian Motorists. Motor racing participants need to understand however that independent testing and analysis has shown that even the highest quality pump fuels may loose octane rating over time and batches of pump fuel may vary.

What are the RON and MON ratings of Elf fuels?

The FIA limits for racing fuels are 102 RON and 90 MON, therefore Elf racing fuels with 102 RON and 90 MON include:

  • Elf LMS
  • Elf WRF
  • Elf Moto GP
  • Elf Euro 102
  • Elf TurboEvo
  • Elf Atmomax

Elf BFK-07 has 98 RON and 93 MON.

Elf Perfo 105 has 113 RON and 98 MON (105 = RON + MON / 2).

RON and MON - A background into fuel standards.

The need to ‘rate’ the quality of fuel was first identified by the Aviation industry during World War I. The Aviators (like Australian racers) had a problem, many engines would suddenly self destruct through detonation. An engine might run fine on one batch of fuel but blow holes in the pistons on the next batch. The fuels seemed the same, weighed the same and may have even come from the same factory.

The fuel companies then tried to employ standards for the aviation fuel being used, but were still unable to weed out the bad batches. A standard test engine with a variable compression facility was built and the fuel to be tested run through it. This heavy duty, single cylinder engine would be warmed to a standard temperature and at a set rpm the compression increased until engine knock occurred this would give its Highest Usable Compression Ratio. Two reference fuels were later used to further improve the process.

Motor Spirit is usually rated using the Research or Motor test methods. Both use the same heavy duty, single cylinder engine but under different conditions:

Motor Octane Test (MON)

  • Inlet air temperature:   148.9 C 
  • Engine jacket temp:   100 C
  • Engine RPM:   900

Research Octane Test (RON)

  • Inlet air temperature:   65.6 C
  • Engine jacket temp:   100 C
  • Engine RPM:    600

The Motor Octane Test employs a higher temperature and RPM and hence is a better indicator for a racing engine. The Research octane test gives a higher number and that's why the Australian manufacturers quote it (RON) in their marketing programs.

FIA specifications.

Full specifications at:

  • Fuel must be Unleaded
  • 102.0 RON maximum and 95.0 RON minimum
  • 90.0 MON maximum and 85.0 MON minimum.
  • A maximum of 3.7 % oxygen
How are Elf racing fuels considered CAMS approved and CAMS compliant?

Elf racing fuels are produced to FIA regulations, as per CAMS Schedule G regulations, "unleaded racing fuel" in compliance with FIA Article 252.9.1.

But my car needs 110 Octane!

Not true! Formula One fuels are only 100 RON, Elf racing fuel is the most popular choice in motor racing in Australia, more championships are won on Elf 102 RON fuels and we are yet to see detonation using an Elf 102 RON fuel, contact us and we can demonstrate.

Australian Made Racing Fuels and ethanol blended fuels.

There are currently companies who claim to be producing "Australian made" racing fuel.

These companies are not recognised Oil companies, nor are they recognised multi national oil companies with contracted Australian distributors.

Concerns need to be raised as to the level of infrastructure and resources these companies have available to them to produce a fuel of high quality and consistency.

The fuels are being marketed to the customer as a racing fuel without the commitment to comprehensive research and development.

Often claims are made that the Australian made racing fuels are produced within the FIA limitations but with out the use of lead, phosphorus MTBE or DIPE.

The only scientific solution to produce fuel with RON of 102 and oxygen of above 2.5% would be through excess use of aromatics, more than likely to be benzene.

The leading racing fuel manufactures in both Europe and the USA steer away from excess benzene in their racing fuel production for environmental, health and of course performance reasons.

Benzene does not keep well over time.

How is a late model car prepared for Elf dyno testing?

During recent Elf racing fuel testing, tuners have offered interesting feedback when conducting dyno testing. That the most time consuming aspect of the test is often draining the existing fuel from the tank of the car to ensure you are running the car on “pure” Elf racing fuel rather than a mix.

In later model cars we have noticed a trend that at times there maybe only a slight gain on the first dyno run. This is often due to the remaining fuel passing through the system and the engine taking time to calibrate itself to the improved quality of fuel.

The car should be run on the dyno until consistent results are achieved. This should take 3-5 dyno runs. Late model cars with advanced computer systems will allow the engine to self tune, the calibration process may also control the air fuel mixture until an optimal setting is found.

What should be considered regarding RON and MON when tuning race engines?

The Research Octane Number (RON) gives a good view on Knock properties at low RPM (slow corner, beginning of re-acceleration). For example, RON is important for Motocross because they are always in re-acceleration.

The Motor Octane Number (MON) gives a good view on Knock properties at high RPM (speed races). The MON is important in competition where speed is the main target.

Tuners should be aware that high octanes are not required for all kind of race engines: Turbo and 2 stroke engines need high octanes, but 4 strokes engines with high RPM need a higher speed of combustion than octane.

When tuning with octane ratings in mind (Turbo and 2 strokes engines), the main parameters are ignition advance and Air/Fuel setting for the mapping parameters, and turbo boost or compression ratio for the mechanical settings.

What is octane? What is high octane?

Octane number is a measure of the antiknock quality of petrol. That is the ability of the petrol to resist knocking (otherwise known as detonation) when it is burned in an engine. There are two laboratory tests to measure octane which are run in a single-cylinder engine operated under different conditions: Research octane number (RON) and Motor octane number (MON).

In the united states and Canada the method of calculating octane is: RON + MON / 2 note that this technique is NOT used in Australia, oil companies here will always use the RON rating to describe their fuels eg: 98 RON = Ultimate, V Power, Vortex, 95 RON = Premium ULP, 91 RON = ULP.

In Australia 102 RON fuel is classed as high octane, several of our customers have imported cars which need "110 octane", the Elf 102 RON has worked well in their cars.

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