Successful European series likely to boost US offshore powerboat sport

London-based Powerboat P1 Management Ltd. has announced plans to export its successful powerboat racing series to the United States with the formation of a North American subsidiary to be known as Powerboat P1 USA. 

“The United States market is critical to any multi-national company involved in motor sports marketing,” said Asif Rangoonwala, Chairman of Powerboat P1. “We view participation in the USA as an essential element in our growth as a World Championship and as a business.” 

Powerboat P1 has successfully spent the last two years raising its awareness in the US market and communicating the unique opportunities it has to offer. Series organisers have also been researching possible racing venues to add to the Powerboat P1 World Championship already sanctioned by the world governing body, the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM).

With the recent evolution of powerboat racing in the USA, Powerboat P1 determined that its considerable resources and unique racing format could help refine the sport in North America, with sanctioning of the American Powerboat Association (APBA). 

 “The APBA represents 107 years of powerboat racing heritage, and is the oldest powerboat federation in the UIM,” said Rangoonwala.  “The APBA provides a high level of credibility to the sport and with its approval we look forward to producing world class events.”

In December, APBA President, Mark Weber, hosted a meeting at the APBA headquarters in Eastpointe, MI, where he invited all of the US organizations to attend and discuss the future of the sport.  The outcome was a positive exchange, where the APBA expressed its desire to embrace offshore racing and bring the sport back together under a common nationally and internationally recognized entity. 

A central theme of the meeting included a sentiment that the autonomy and individual identities of the current racing series are important to maintain. However, the credibility and growth of the sport would still rely on a single governing body that can offer prestige and heritage, internationally recognized records and titles, as well as APBA ‘Hall of Champions’ recognition and speed record validation.  Due to the size of the US market, the existing regionally based series could operate under a single national authority [APBA], just as the individual national federations operate with the UIM as the international authority. 

The Powerboat P1 USA events will build on the very effective “power to weight ratio” format that has been utilized throughout the European series.  Initial plans for the Powerboat P1 USA series include three v-bottom classes.  Powerboat P1 USA would then represent a sub-set of other existing classes offered within the APBA offshore category, focusing on a limited number of classes for a Powerboat P1 USA Continental Championship.

The initial two-year plan includes intentions to work with the existing organizations in 2010 to more fully develop their regional races, laying the groundwork for joint productions of key race events in a 2011. Powerboat P1 USA will also work on a focused marketing and promotional campaign to inform potential teams, venues and sponsors of the opportunities and value that a Powerboat P1 event generates on a global scale; but, stresses that it is striving for strong relationships with all of the current racing organizations and event producers.

“Powerboat P1 brings a respected level of professionalism to a series within the APBA,” said Weber. “As an APBA sanctioned series, Powerboat P1 will enhance the event value to local producers and to our current organizations.”  

“With strong regional organizations running their local series and hosting specific P1 USA series events, there’s an opportunity for a genuine unification of the sport here that the vast majority of the racers support,” said Powerboat P1 USA Director of North American Operations, Martin Sanborn.  “APBA has been the backbone of powerboating in the US for over 100 years, and it represents the credibility and consistency that offshore powerboat racing needs to finally bring the sport together with common purpose and internationally compatible rules,” he added.