US Manufacturers Boost Evolution Class

Influx of North American hull and engine builders has raised competition

Powerboat P1 CEO Jim O’Toole says the level of competition in the Evolution class has increased dramatically with the influx of US hull and engine manufacturers over the last few years. He is encouraging more hull and engine firms from around the world to enter the championship to further increase its diversity.

Although Powerboat P1 started off as a mainly Euro-centric series, the move of Evolution Class teams to using US-built hulls from Outerlimits, Fountain, Skater and – this year – Cigarette, allied to the number of teams using Mercury and now Ilmor and Chief engines, has given the championship a more trans-Atlantic, global feel. American-built hull and engine combinations – all run by European-based teams – scored 10 of the 11 possible wins in the Evolution class this year.

A US race is one of the long-term goals of the Powerboat P1 series, as it aims to build on its already successful and growing reputation in North America. But this also has a potential benefit for European hull and engine manufacturers, allowing them to showcase their products to the US market and a wider global audience.

“There is an obvious impact of the American-built boats in the Evolution class, as evidenced by the top Fountain, Outerlimits, Skater and Cigarette boats,” O’Toole said. “We even had a Skater one-two-three podium in Vigo in Spain. The general level of competition increased with the entry of the American boats as they competed against European-built boats. This year we saw multiple Skater and Outerlimits entries, and next year we expect to see more Fountain entries as well. We also believe we’ll see more Ilmor and Mercury engines because of Powerboat P1’s marketing platform” he added.

“The level of interest in America has increased due to our marketing effort there. We made a sales pitch in Key West to racers and have continued our outreach to US manufacturers and the racing community, and that will continue,” O’Toole says, “A number of racers have now come to our events, and we hope to see them join us next year. Other boat and engine manufacturers are, of course, most welcome.”