THE HISTORY OF CASTROL
On 19th March 1899, Charles ´Cheers´ Wakefield set up an oil company in England. Ten years later, he produced a new lubricant that would revolutionise transport in the first half of the twentieth century. Wakefield´s researchers discovered that adding a measured amount of castor oil, a vegetable oil derived from castor beans, gave their lubricants the required properties for the harsh conditions imposed by these new engines. The new oil was named Castrol.
By 1960, the Castrol brand was so well known that C.C.Wakefield renamed the company simply as Castrol Ltd.
The company remained at the cutting edge of lubricant technology, opening a state of the art research facility in Bracknell, and developing the product line to include oils specifically for car manufacturer’s individual engines.
- In 1966, the company was bought by The Burmah Oil Company;
- 1968 saw the launch of Castrol GTX, to the great acclaim of both professional drivers and the driving public at large. By this point, Castrol products were available from service stations and garage forecourts in more than 140 countries worldwide. Castrol remained a major sponsor for motor sports and world record attempts – including the 1970 London to Mexico rally, where 16 of the 23 finishers used Castrol lubrication;
- In 2000, Burmah Oil and Castrol became part of the BP group of companies. Burmah Oil’s operations were folded into the group, whilst Castrol carried on developing and selling lubricants under its own established name.
Speed and endurance
Castrol lubricants have become synonymous with world speed and endurance records. From the early days of Malcolm Campbell´s land and water speed records, Captain Alcock´s non-stop Atlantic flight, to the Mars Rover, Castrol has remained at the cutting edge of technology. With unrivalled quality and exceptional performance in the most adverse conditions, Castrol lubricants remain the number one choice of motoring pioneers today.
Having developed a new kind of enginer oil, C.C.Wakefield pioneered a new way to raise awareness of the product with potential Customers. Wakefield’s interest in competition and performance had led him to the idea of sponsorship.
The Castrol name was advertised on banners and flags at aviation competitions, car and motorbike races, and speed record attempts. A mobile competitions department, pictured, provided support to these intrepid drivers and pilots.
When a Castrol sponsored racer or record breaker won, advertisements would herald the victory, letting the public know that the winner had „done it with Castrol“. During the 1920´s and 30´s, the land speed record was broken 23 times – 18 with Castrol in the engine.