Popular four stroke series to race alongside P1
Powerboat P1 Management Ltd, organisers of the Powerboat P1 World Championship, is to take over the running of the British-based Formula Four Stroke Association (F4SA).
The move will offer the previously UK based series a unique media and broadcasting platform plus the opportunity of competing in Europe.
Over the past ten years, the F4SA has developed the offshore racing platform and nurtured crews to full international level. Its rapid development has seen it grow from just five 130hp class teams in 1999 to more than 25 spread over two classes in 2006.
The series has enjoyed strong support from Honda who has backed the championship since 1999 in order to prove the performance of its then newly-launched BF130 hp (later 150hp) and 225hp four-stroke outboard engines.
Powerboat P1 Chairman and CEO, Asif Rangoonwala, recognises the partnership as an extremely exciting breakthrough for the world’s fastest growing offshore powerboat racing series.
“By integrating the series into Powerboat P1, we have 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 that we are serious about production boating,” said Rangoonwala.
He added: “As well as testing driver and navigator skill to the maximum, 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 international level.”
A new name and identity for the series is planned which will see the introduction of two-stroke 300 hp Mercury engines in the 27 ft class. Honda’s 150 hp engines will remain in the smaller 21 ft class.
Powerboat P1 commercial director, Robert Wicks, said:
“We can now provide host cities with an enhanced offering by increasing television coverage and supplying a better inward economic investment. A talent 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, the latter being held during a Powerboat P1 race weekend.”
The first event of the new European tour is intended for the opening round of the 2010 Powerboat P1 World Championship in Split, Croatia in April. Wicks is confident the latest addition to Powerboat P1 will be well supported.
“We recognise this is a big step for many of teams, but we plan to help them to attend the European races. Feedback has been very encouraging and most teams have a real desire to race in Europe.”
To enhance the value of the series immediately, 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 British series has nurtured the likes of Shelley Jory (pictured above) and James Sheppard who both achieved success in P1 after establishing themselves in the smaller capacity Honda classes.
Key to the agreement was the ability to enhance the profile of the series through the extensive Powerboat P1 media platform.