World Land Speed Record
Since the late 19th century, Castrol has always been at the cutting-edge for engine oil technology and innovation. Founder Charles Wakefield worked with customers and world-leading pioneers in the motorcar, motorcycle and aviation industries to create ground-breaking products.
WHO WE ARE
Castrol is the world leading manufacturer, distributor and marketer of premium lubricating oils, greases and related services to automotive, industrial, marine, aviation, oil exploration and production customers across the world. The company is headquartered in the UK and operates directly in over 46 countries, and employing approximately 7,500 staff worldwide. In nearly 74 other countries, we are represented by third party distributors who market and sell our products locally. The Castrol delivery network extends throughout 120 countries, covering 800 ports and partnering with over 2000 distributors and agents.
Castrol offers lubricants for virtually all domestic, commercial and industrial applications. For automotive lubrication (including motorcycles 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines, car petrol and diesel engines), our products include an extensive range of manual and automatic transmission fluids, chain lubricants and waxes, coolants, suspension fluids, brake fluids, greases, cleaners and maintenance products. We also produce products for agricultural machinery, plant, general industry and marine engineering uses. All our products have a global chemical registration status and meet compliance in all locations where the product is used.
- automotive lubricants: developed for consumers, supplying lubricants, specialities (gear oils, greases and other ancillary products) and services to cars, motorcycles, commercial vehicles, including heavy duty consumer trucks, mining and agriculture vehicles
- aviation, industrial, marine and energy lubricants: developed for the business to business community, supplying solutions to the manufacturing, mining, shipping, aviation and oil and exploration industries. Our global business operations provide worldwide assurance, improved productivity, improved environmental products and trusted advice focussed on optimising our customers production processes.
At the forefront of pioneering technology with our 7 R&D centres globally, we develop and test hundreds of new products every year. We work closely with leading industry OEMs, with whom we supply a broad range of lubricants designed for particular operating conditions and environments. Many of our products are recommended by and co-engineered with major OEMs, including Audi, BMW, Ford, MAN, Honda, JLR, Volvo, Seat, Skoda, Tata and Volkswagen, for their ‘new to the world’ powertrains.
Castrol was founded by Charles “Cheers” Wakefield under the name of ‘CC Wakefield & Company’. In 1899, when he was 39, Charles left a job at Vacuum Oil to start a new business at Cheapside in London, selling lubricants for trains and heavy machinery. He was a persuasive man who could articulate a vision, clearly, and eight former colleagues followed him into the new company. Early in the new century, Wakefield took a personal interest in two sporty new motorised contraptions – the automobile and the aeroplane. The company started developing lubricants especially for these new engines, which needed oils that were runny enough to work from cold at start-up and thick enough to keep working at very high temperatures. Wakefield researchers found that adding a measure of castor oil, a vegetable oil made from castor beans, did the trick nicely. They called the new product “Castrol.” Having helped pioneer a new kind of motor oil, now CC Wakefield pioneered a new method of getting customers to notice the product: sponsorship. The Castrol name appeared on banners and flags at competitive aviation events, auto races and at competitive drivers’ attempts to break the land speed record. Wakefield extended the company’s increasingly profitable product line to include oils developed especially for car manufacturer’s individual engines. By 1960, the name of the motor oil had all but eclipsed that of the company’s larger-than-life founder, and so ‘CC Wakefield& Company’ became, simply, Castrol Ltd. Meanwhile, the company’s researchers delved ever deeper into the complexities of engine lubrication and a state-of-the-art research facility opened in Bracknell, England. Then in 1966, The Burmah Oil Company bought Castrol. Proving that Castrol hadn’t become focused solely on cars and aircrafts, the Queen Elizabeth II, the world’s largest ocean-going passenger liner launched in 1967, powered by Castrol lubricants. Through the 1980 and 1990s the company continued to introduce innovative, new products. Burmah-Castrol was purchased by BP in 2000 and the Castrol brand became part of the BP's Group of Companies. More recently, when NASA's Curiosity rover began its exciting mission on Mars in 2012, a Castrol industrial grease played a central role in the smooth operation of everything from Curiosity's wheels to its cameras. The grease is formulated for the space program to perform in temperatures ranging from minus 80 degrees Celsius to 204 degrees Celsius. The success of the company owes much to the original philosophy of Charles Wakefield. He drew on the help and encouragement of his customers in developing his new Castrol Oils, because he had the foresight to see that working in partnership was the best way to achieve success for both parties. This rationale is as relevant to Castrol today as it was then.