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It's not exactly the octane that makes the difference. Race fuel (fuels that also happen to have higher-than-pump-gas octane) tends to have a slightly lower specific gravity than pump gas. Therefore, if you spray a given volume -- say 1 CC -- of race gas into the engine you've sprayed slightly less weight of fuel than if you'd have sprayed 1 cc of pump gas. Since A/F ratios are a measure of air to fuel by weight, the AFR is slightly leaner because theres less fuel.

Steve Hayes
 
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