Castrol

Just earlier this year, Castrol Malaysia had a competition called the Castrol EDGE Experience Nurburging challenge, where contestants had to undergo several stages of challenges before ending up at the grand finals at Sepang where they underwent various driving challenges.

At the end of the day, everyone went back with something but there was only one person who would be heading to the Nordschleife to undergo an amazing driving program, all thanks to Castrol Malaysia. That lucky man was Khairul Izwan Razali!

Although the Nurburgring is closer to Frankfurt, we landed in Munich as the program included visits to the BMW Welt, the BMW Museum and BMW Classic. We would make our way to the Nurburgring via a 6 hour bus ride later.

BMW Classic is somewhat like a little historical car museum, but with limited access to the public, unlike the BMW Museum. It’a also a workshop where owners can send their classic BMWs to be restored by BMW themselves.

There’s plenty of evidence of Castrol’s long standing relationship with BMW here – there are so many old racecars with the Castrol logo on them.

This is a prototype E32 7-Series with a V16 engine. It was developed as a testbed for BMW as at that time they were considering introducing something more upmarket than a 7-Series.

The engine is so huge that the cooling systems could not completely fit into the engine bay – the radiator and other components were moved to the rear into the boot.

This is the James Bond E38 7-Series – you can watch it in action by clicking this link. It has been specially modified to be able to be controlled by a driver sitting on the rear floor behind the front passenger seat, so the car would appear to be driving itself in the movie.

This is a concept scooter with a roof produced in conjunction with Louis Vuitton – all the leather you see is by LV. You can find more photos of this scooter in the gallery after the jump.

We then moved to the BMW Welt, which was basically a huge BMW showroom with an amazing architecture pretty much devoid of pillars – they’re there but they’re kept to a minimum and very cleverly disguised.

This creates a feeling of spaciousness – you’re basically in a giant hall with a roof over you that looks like metallic clouds.

Customers from around the world (limited countries of course) could do what they call an “European Delivery” here. An American customer can order his BMW, then fly over to Munich and take delivery of his car in a grand way at the BMW Welt, drive through Europe for a road trip, and fly back to the US after you drop the car off to be loaded on a ship.

It was fun checking out all the models that we don’t get to see in Malaysia in the metal – an F10 535d M-Sport looks delicious!

This Castrol-themed BMW M3 Coupe was parked outside the BMW Welt. We didn’t know it at this time but we were going to be taken around the Nurburgring GP Circuit by Dirk Muller in this car.

Just next to BMW Welt is the BMW Museum. It’s exhibits include old and new BMW models as well as the more important concept cars that BMW have unveiled over the years.

The BMW Art Car collection is also on display here.

Lots of funky concept cars including the GINA Concept shown recently.

Now you may be wondering why a Castrol event had so much BMW intertwined in it – we’ve visited so many BMW buildings and then we’re heading off to the Green Hell to be guided by BMW driver trainers. Castrol has a long standing partnership with BMW and is BMW Motorsport’s Premier Technical Partner.

They work closely to develop lubricants. In fact, BMW says BMW M engines such as the one in the M3 and the M5 must run Castrol TWS 10W60, or Castrol EDGE 10W60. Castrol engine oils and functional fluids are recommended for all BMW cars and motorcycles. Castrol supplies BMW with first fill lubricants for new BMW cars.

The partnership between Castrol and BMW began in 1999 as a way of developing, testing and optimizing the combination of car, fuel and engine oil technologies.

As well as working together on the commercial brands within the BMW group, Castrol have worked in partnership across numerous motorsport properties in both the two and four-wheel categories with notable championship victories for Andy Priaulx in the 2005, 2006 and 2007 World Touring Car Championships.

According to Castrol Senior Development Technologist Simon Gurney, Castrol EDGE has been tested to the extreme – for example, their endurance test runs the engine at maximum power and fires a total of 147,000,000 times, more than 3.5 times than it would during a Nürburgring 24 hour race.

For events like the Castrol EDGE Experience Nürburgring, the importance of this level of testing becomes clear. According to Gurney, the standard engine speed for a BMW M3 on a lap of the Nürburgring is 7100rpm, with a peak engine speed of 8,400rpm. The piston speed inside the engine will be around 20m/s (approx 60mph).

On average the engine will fire 240,000 times per lap, amounting to 39,000,000 in a single Nürburgring 24hour race. It’s critical that drivers are able to rely on the highest level of performance being delivered on demand.

Anyway, after enjoying the BMW Museum, we loaded up into the bus and headed off to the Nurburgring. It was a very long bus ride, but the European scenery was pleasant and very different from what you see here in Malaysia.

The sun casts its shine a differently, which explains why European photos always look nicer, and you can have extremely bright days that hurt your eyes but the outside temperature would still be chilly.

A few hours into the bus ride, I started seeing an increased frequency of powerful cars and superbikes on the road. I had wondered if this meant we were getting very close to the Nurburgring. Sure enough, a couple of minutes later it was announced that we were 10 minutes away from our hotel.

Now that we are here at the ‘Ring, we will undergo a BMW Driver Training course for one whole day before we hit the Green Hell the next day. Here’s where the fun starts. More on that next week!

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