Powerboats: For the past four years the Powerboat P1 World Championship has been quietly growing and changing the way fans view the sport of offshore racing. In 2008, the only truly trans-continental, offshore race series is making a stir, capturing the eyes and ears of race fans across the globe.
From the Adriatic coast of Italy, to the island of Malta, to the Middle Eastern Kingdom of Bahrain, Powerboat P1's 2008 season visits seven countries on three continents, providing world class racing and a world class fan experience unrivaled by any other on-water competition--and many land-based motorsports as well.
Powerboat P1 is achieving tremendous growth in fan, racer and marine industry participation through the principles of open, honest competition and a fan-friendly festival event format that makes racing easy to understand and follow. Whether at the races, watching the worldwide television coverage, or following live race action through the innovative, computer-based Virtual Spectator, which gives fans the power to select a choice of on-board or aerial race coverage, Powerboat P1 is power-packed and entertaining.
Unlike North American offshore racing, which has seemingly morphed into an unlimited number of classes, all running together, P1 has just two Vee-bottom classes, SuperSport-the equivalent of the Factory Class--using open cockpit production hulls available to the general public, and Evolution Class which features full canopied "prototype" hulls. Race teams are given the latitude of selecting their own power plants and drive systems with the equalizer being a power-to-weight ratio rule that allows for unmatched competition between diesel and petrol engine boats using both surface drives and sterndrives in every imaginable combination. The field is policed through pre-season engine testing and sealing and advanced telemetry monitoring systems like those used in high-end auto racing.
As a result, Powerboat P1 features boats, engines, and drive systems manufactured around the world, with a dramatic increase in participation from U.S. manufacturers like Outerlimits, Fountain, and Skater. Also in 2008, Cigarette ended a decade-long absence from racing and Mercury Racing debuted the 711 SCi designed specifically for P1 competition -- all with an eye toward the series -- anticipated arrival on North American shores.
The rules and the quality of competition have been enticing enough to lure American racers across "The Pond." It started last year when Mike Fiore brought his Outerlimits corporate team of Joe Sgro and Nigel Hook to P1 and was quickly followed by a Fountain team, fielded by international dealer, Fountain Worldwide's Craig Wilson. This year, increased American visibility occurred when Hook fielded his own Lucas Oil team, another new Skater ventured into the pack and Johnny Tomlinson made a guest appearance for Cigarette. The added interest from the U.S. is warranted, since Powerboat P1 treats the racer "Like a Rock Star," according to 2007 Evolution Champion, Wilson. The comparison is not farfetched. P1 provides racers with a full complement of catered meals by the same company that provides food service for the European tours of such name acts as Bon Jovi and The Rolling Stones. Five-star gourmet food, featuring regional delicacies of the host country and a menu representing the countries of each race team are served throughout the race weekend. Racers enjoy a private lounge area and the podium presentations, immediately after the races are true team and fan celebrations!
But the race teams aren't the only ones who receive this VIP treatment. Powerboat P1 offers full hospitality packages to the discerning race fan, featuring top-notch gourmet food service, a first class wine cellar and full bar service, all in a temperature-controlled, linen table-clothed hospitality area. This arena also provides prime viewing of the race course, as well as plasma-screen TV, Virtual Spectator coverage and video feeds during races. Packages can also include watching the race from the water aboard a luxury vessel, exclusive access to P1 pits, private parties and a host of other "goodies."
Literally thousands of locals and tourists line the beaches of P1 venues to watch the close-in race action, and then descend on the Race Village to avail themselves of the myriad activities that include fashion shows, wine tastings, car displays, racer autograph sessions and activities for children and adults alike, all free to the general public.
Specifics about P1 rules, racing, and hospitality, along with full race coverage and a behind-the-scenes look at the personalities that make the Powerboat P1 World Championship the most unique offshore race series on the planet are available at www.powerboatp1.com. North American television coverage of the 2008 season begins in the fall on the SPEED network.
By Marilyn DeMartini