P1: P1 acquires Formula Four Stroke Series
Ten-year Old UK Offshore Circuit To Expand To Europe Powerboat P1 Management Limited, parent company of the Powerboat P1 World Championship, announced today it has acquired management rights to the British-based Formula Four Stroke Association ...
Ten-year Old UK Offshore Circuit To Expand To Europe
Powerboat P1 Management Limited, parent company of the Powerboat P1 World Championship, announced today it has acquired management rights to the British-based Formula Four Stroke Association (F4SA). Honda Series Boat The 10-year old series has enjoyed strong support from Honda as its title sponsor since 1999 in order to prove the performance of its then newly-launched BF130 hp four-stroke outboard engine.
The F4SA, under the leadership of eight-time powerboat world champion, Steve Curtis, developed the offshore racing platform and nurtured pilots who have gone on to compete at the full international level. The series provides a great training ground for racing as operating the nimble 21' and 27' outboard-powered V-hull boats requires sharp technical skills. Powerboat P1's Shelly Jory and two-time, Evolution Class World Champion James Sheppard, both raced in the F4SA before entering the P1 World Championship.
F4SA's rapid development has seen it grow from just five teams competing in a single 130 hp class in 1999, to more than 25 teams competing in two classes in 2006; 19 teams participated in 2009, a down year for racing the world over.
A new name and identity for the series is planned, which will see the introduction of low-emission, direct fuel injection, two-stroke 300 XS outboard engines from Mercury Racing in the 27 ft class. Honda's 150 hp engines remain in place for competitors in the smaller 21 ft class. Starting places are likely to be limited to ten boats in each class for the European rounds and 15 for the British events. Powerboat P1 is also reviewing the potential of combining the results from the European and British events to crown an overall world champion for the series. The first event of the new series' European tour is intended for the opening round of the 2010 Powerboat P1 World Championship in Split, Croatia next April.
Powerboat P1 Chairman and CEO, Asif Rangoonwala, recognizes the partnership as a breakthrough for his fast-growing international offshore powerboat racing series. "By integrating the series into Powerboat P1, we commenced the expansion of our existing platform of SuperSport and Evolution classes. This deal opens new commercial opportunities for us and the teams, but most importantly it sends an important message to the marine industry and the mainstream, high-volume manufacturers--we are serious about production boat racing," Rangoonwala said, "The series is one of the most affordable and accessible forms of motor sport, allowing the ordinary enthusiast to race in a competitive championship at an international level," he added.
Curtis, who will serve as an advisor to the series, says Powerboat P1's "unrivalled expertise" in promoting offshore powerboat racing can only benefit the existing F4SA teams. "We have been working closely with Powerboat P1 for the past few months on this agreement and I see it as the obvious way forward to raise the profile of the series and take it to a new level." said Curtis.
According to Powerboat P1 commercial director, Robert Wicks, "A talented pool of aspiring pilots now emerges who will be able to use the series as a natural stepping stone to our established international classes. The intention at this stage is to offer competing teams three race events in the UK and the equivalent in Europe, with the latter being held over the course of a Powerboat P1 race weekend. We recognize this is a big step for many of the teams, but we plan to support them to attend the European races. Feedback has been very encouraging and the teams have a real desire to race in Europe."
Powerboat P1 Management will release details of the 2010 calendar, regulations and incentives for competing teams in mid-December.