Big British brand takes on the big guns in P1 2008

British P1 contenders Team Sunseeker launched their new boat and completed final preparation yesterday for the series’ opening round in Italy.

The competitive P1 championship kicks off with three days of racing in San Benedetto del Tronto next weekend.

At the launch event at Ocean Village, Southampton, pilots Pete Little and Andy Wilby put the FPT-powered Sunseeker XS Challenger through its paces under the watchful eye of personnel from both the Sunseeker Sales Group and Fiat Powertrain Technologies.

The team will compete in the 14 round P1 World Championship and August’s Cowes-Torquay-Cowes, one of the most famous and demanding offshore endurance races in powerboating.

With a new hull, new driver line-up and new championship rules which now include dyno testing checks on power output, Team Sunseeker head for San Benedetto del Tronto with big ambitions but some trepidation.

“We are naturally nervous and apprehensive,” said throttleman Pete Little.

“A lot is expected of us this season and, whilst we are mentally prepared and in peak physical condition, there are so many unknowns.

“How will the new hull perform, what improvements have our rivals made during the off-season and will the new rules ensure a level playing field for all competitors?”

Keeping a close eye on proceedings was Managing Director of Sunseeker Sales Group, Dominic Byrne.

“Our Sunseeker XS Challenger is a proven performer and, with the energy and commitment shown by everyone associated with our racing team, 2008 promises much,” he explained.

“However, in any form of motorsport, especially where the elements play such a pivotal role, there are so many other factors to consider, including good fortune! Our ambition in Italy is quite simple; to complete both races without incident and, in doing so, establish a solid base from which to build our title challenge.”

For anyone in the race area, a time trial on Friday 9 May is followed by an endurance race of 75 nautical miles on Saturday and a ‘sprint’ event on Sunday.

Team Sunseeker competes in P1’s production class – SuperSport – with races scheduled to start at 11:30am on both days. To keep up-to-date with all the action visit www.teamsunseeker.com