Offshore P1 racing adopts Formula One technology to ensure fair competition

The relatively new P1 World Offshore Championship is to adopt technology developed in Formula One motor racing to ensure even competition in 2005.

The relatively new P1 World Offshore Championship is to adopt technology developed in Formula One motor racing to ensure even competition in 2005.
As the Championship has grown in stature it has attracted increased investment and new engine manufacturers and, with this, has come a dilemma for Italian Massimo ‘Max’ Lippi, the Sporting and Technical Director of KBL Powerboat Management Limited, the Championship promoter.
“There are teams ready to invest large amounts of money to compete in our series but they want to know how the UIM [the sports governing body] and KBL can guarantee their investment against someone playing with the power of their engine and making all the other teams uncompetitive,” says Lippi”
“Our championship is unlike almost any other in the sport because we have different engine types: some using diesel others petrol, supercharged and non-supercharged. We therefore need to ensure competition is even.”
To ensure fair competiti on for the 2005 season, scrutineers are to use a dynamic dynamometer (dyno) supplied by the Italian company Leane based in Parma who supplies the World Championship winning Ferrari Formula One team. With the Leane dyno it is possible to check the power of an engine in situ while the boat is racing. In a typical powerboat power-train layout the engine is located ahead of the gearbox from which a shaft runs to the propeller. This shaft is attached to the gearbox with a universal joint and it is here the dyno is fitted. The dyno system is made up of a 200mm diameter 3.2kg disc, a torque meter and three sensors enclosed in a 100mm long casing connected to a telemetry system relaying data back to a receiving station.
The three sensors measure the torque, rpm and the length and its variations.
“By applying a formula to the torque measurement and rpm it is possible to calculate the power. This technology was originally developed in Formula One with Ferrari and in Superbike racing by Ducati and the Offshore Powerboat Championship Dubai based winning Victory Team for the past three years,” explains Lippi.
It’s not possible to use the system in sterndrive boats. Therefore scrutineers will be using an American SuperFlow static dyno for which the engine must be removed from the boat. Superflow dynos are used by many the top American powerboat engine builders and also in NASCAR stockcar racing.
“It is the nature of competitive racing for teams to seek an edge and in any form of motor sport there will always be someone who thinks they are smarter and willing to take the risk of getting caught. However, from a promoter’s standpoint we need to protect the integrity of the sport for all concerned. Our approach is really one of best practice and introducing practical solutions with clearly identifiable parameters that raise the barriers. Between the Leane dyno for boats with prop shafts and the Superflow dyno for stern drive engines we will have control of engine power in our championship,” asserts Lippi.


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