It’s always fun to cruise around the sea with a motorboat. But getting to the next level, which is racing with it, is surely more thrilling. No matter how young or old you are, and no matter how skilled or clueless you are with the powerboating sport, racing in the waters will give you a one-of-a-kind experience you won’t easily forget.
Powerboat racing is a sport that started in England and Ireland. Eventually, it reached the United States and formed the American Power Boat Association in 1911, and powerboat racing became a regular event. Here are the top powerboating race events in the world:
1. UIM Class One World Powerboat Championship
The leader in powerboat racing, the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) governs and regulates the sport of powerboating in the world. The Class 1 World Powerboat Championship was sanctioned by the UIM in 1964 as the highest and most spectacular class of offshore motorsports racing worldwide.
Using Class 1 boats, which are around 12 to 14 meters in length and running on petrol 8.2-liter V12 engines, racers participate in the championship from around the world in different venues set by the committee. A Class 1 season has a series of Grand Prix with racing sessions, and results of each race are combined to determine the winner of the world championship.
2. P1 SuperStock Championship
The P1 SuperStock Championship is the world’s most competitive one-design powerboat championship. Using a single class, identical powerboats on its race series, it became one of the most accessible and affordable forms of motorsport nowadays. It is usually held in the United States and venues around the United Kingdom. The sporting festival takes place over five to six weekends during May until October. Up to three races lasting around 20 minutes each are held over a weekend.
The P1 SuperStock Championship team also works with the UIM, as well as the marine federations and the marine industry as a whole. Every event is heavily promoted and broadcasted on TV by international media.
3. UIM Powerboat GPS World Championship
When the race series was founded in Nettuno, Italy in 2003, it was named as Powerboat P1 World Championship. Twelve 15-year-old aluminum boats, which were mostly Italian, competed in the first race ever. During its era that spanned 2003 to 2009, Powerboat P1 boats had 40% more horsepower than a Formula 1.
However, the management decided to cancel the championship in 2010. The UIM, instead, took over to supervise the race series and renamed it as Powerboat GPS, which stands for Grand Prix of the Sea. The championship was continued and the series was divided into two classes: Evolution and Supersport. The boats used for the race are V-type monohulls.
4. Key West World Championship
Coined as the biggest powerboat race in the world, the Key West World Championship is compared to the Indy 500, the Monaco Grand Prix and Le Mans 24 Hours. If you are not familiar with powerboat racing and you happened to be in Key West, Florida during its racing events in November, you surely won’t miss it. Legions of its fans flock to and fill the hotels, motels and rent houses for the month just to see the boats, crews, and engines up close and personal.
The high-speed racing event takes place all around the island through the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. It features the most powerful boats of wealthy Americans (mostly) and elite Europeans. During the 90s, boats had a maximum power of 700 bhp, but today, a 1,500 bhp is considered modest. Boats speeding as fast as Formula One cars are common in this event.
5. Venture Cup
The Venture Cup is billed as the longest, toughest and most prestigious powerboat race in the world. It was designed to bring the best of motorsport, event spectacle, brands and consumers together in an exciting global sporting event. It involves more than a thousand miles of the toughest conditions to highlight technical excellence, courage, and bravery of the racing teams.
The first racing event was scheduled to happen in June 2013 with a route beginning in Cowes, UK and ending in Monte Carlo. However, it was canceled due to lack of funding. Commentators of the sport considered it to have been the greatest powerboat race ever. A race scheduled in May 2016 to take place in Cork to Dublin, Ireland, was also canceled, with organizers citing cash flow problems.
6. Cowes Torquay Cowes Offshore Powerboat Race
The Cowes Torquay Cowes is the longest-running offshore powerboat race in the world. The contest was the brainchild of newspaper tycoon and World War II fighter pilot Sir Max Aitken, and it was launched as the first offshore powerboat racing sport in Britain during 1961. At first, it was sponsored by the Daily Express newspaper. The success of the event encouraged other European and Middle East countries to follow suit.
The British Powerboat Racing club organizes this racing event. The race format, which makes racers travel 150 miles from Cowes to Torquay and back, was implemented since in 1967 when the UIM introduced the World Offshore Championships to the world of powerboat racing.