Four-stroke unit out to challenge domination of the two-stroke Mercury



A new engine is to be tested at the opening round of the UIM Formula One Powerboat World Championship in Qatar on March 10 which could revolutionise inland circuit racing and provide a direct challenge to Mercury Marine.

Developed by the South African Caudwell Racing team, the engine is a 4-stroke, 3.5lt overhead camshaft unit using performance components developed by Cosworth Racing.

It is claimed to be able to run as high as 8,500 rpm in race trim. Caudwell are hoping the engine provides a real challenge to the currently used Mercury Racing 2-stroke, 450 horsepower EFI engines.

It is not the first time that inshore circuit racing has eyed Cosworth in its attempt to challenge Mercury.

In the mid-1970s, Jackie Wilson and Bill Brown (an early member of the Cosworth motor racing team) cleverly got round the strict outboard ruling by installing their 6-cylinder Cosworth units on detachable frames.

Although competive, they weren’t a match for the power-to-weight ratio of the 2-stroke outboard.

But a move away from 2-stroke is now imperative. While the current 2-stroke lubrication systems are claimed to be pollution-free, some areas in Europe have imposed strict conservation rules against them.

The Union Internationale Motonautique has been keen for some time to switch to 4-stroke power and this new engine could provide the answer.

“We are entering the Formula 1 series in a very respectful and professional way,” said Kevin Delaney, team manager of the 4-stroke project.

“We realize we have a lot to learn but we expect to compete immediately and get better as the season goes along.

“Durability and improved environmental performance are our focus as we introduce this 4-stroke technology to the sport.”

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