It all begins here…in Houston Texas. I’m nestled in the Magnolia hotel waiting until tomorrow morning when I will assault the Shell facility. I’m on a mission. Actually Paul Charsley and I only use Shell fuel in our road cars and there is no question that there is a difference. Don’t take my word for it, Paul is a professional race car driver and he knows it all too well.
I’ve had lots of cars in my life and they run the gambit from the used Plymouth Champ (hey, I was young and needed transportation) to the Audi A8L and now a BMW 550i Sport (think M5 without the M5 price). I’ve used lots of fuel from Texaco, Standard, Amoco, Sinclair, Citgo, Sonoco, BP, Phillips and every odd brand you can imagine at every backwater gas station you can envision. These are the kinds of stations that are manned by men who are their own father. They rise in the morning and brush their tooth.
After all these years, I have come to the conclusion that Shell fuel is like no other fuel in a road car and I want to know why. While I have succumbed to that truism, it nags at me like an overbearing wife and I am damned determined to actually solve this puzzle once and for all. I will not be able to take my dirt nap until I expose Shell for the goofball magic, smoke and mirrors, cloak and dagger, shenanigans and goings on.
Why have all my cars—cheap ones and expensive ones—run better with Shell fuel in them? What sleight of hand are they using to make you think your car is actually performing better with their fuel in it? If their fuel is so much better, are their lubricants actually that much better as well? Admittedly I haven’t demanded Shell lubricants in my vehicle but that could change depending on what I discover this summer with Shell.
I start in Houston tomorrow with a visit to their facility. I am going to look behind the curtain and try to sneak into offices I shouldn’t be in. I’ll be like McLaren in a Ferrari technical director’s office digging through content that shouldn’t see the light of day unless it’s stolen by NSA employees and published by Wikileaks. I won’t let up until I figure out what the heck is going on with Shell fuel and why I drive well out of my way just to put their product in my car. They owe me big time and I’m calling them on it.
While I am at it, I have to assume that same performance advantage is also present in Formula One and I also want to discover how that added benefit of having a long-term relationship with Shell benefits Ferrari in a sport measured in the 1,000th of seconds. In July I will be heading to Maranello to get to the bottom of Ferrari’s relationship with Shell and see if I can determine what advantage they do get and how they manufacturer race fuel. Stay tuned…I got this…hold my beer.