From Technology to Marketing, Grand Prix of the Sea Format a Winner

"Race on Sunday, sell on Monday." No one knows who said it first, but in the marine industry, the phrase has become synonymous with Reggie Fountain, who built the performance boat company that bears his name into one of the best known names in the marine industry. For Fountain, and other U.S. manufacturers like Skater, Cigarette, and Outerlimits-along with engine builders Ilmor Performance Marine, Mercury Racing, Chief and Sterling Performance--the Powerboat P1 World Championship series has provided an important outlet, not only for a global championship, but for showing a worldwide audience how rugged, reliable and just plain fast their products are.

P1 has become an important proving ground and an opportunity to integrate what is learned on the race course into the construction and set up of pleasure boats. "Powerboat P1 has been tremendous for my company," said Outerlimits President and founder Mike Fiore, "From a marketing perspective and most importantly as a research and development platform."

Fiore's SV-40 debuted in P1 during 2007, when Fiore, Joe Sgro and Nigel Hook took the Mercury Racing-powered Lucas Oil Outerlimits team in search of a new market across The Pond. The following year, the Italian OSG Racing team took an new Outerlimits Powerboat into the World Championship and remained a contender in the Evolution class. In 2009, the Rhode island-based Outerlimits is again outfitting the American team of Fiore, Hook and Sgro in the #77 Lucas Oil Budweiser with Chief power. "I go to every P1 Grand Prix, and also race in the Lucas Oil boat, allowing me to translate the experience into the design of all my pleasure boats," said Fiore.

Three seasons of P1 racing and a winter of hard work paid off for Outerlimits in the Grand Prix premier in Malta, with the two Outerlimits teams finishing the weekend at the top of the World Championship points standings. "I feel that Outerlimits did an incredible job in Malta. I throttled the Lucas Oil boat [in the Sprint race] and it performed perfectly," Fiore said, adding that with some changes to weight distribution and propellers, as well as a winter of testing, "The OSG boat ran superbly and we were able to increase the boats performance."

The #99 Ilmor-powered, Fountain World Wide team, the international dealer for Fountain, was the 2007 & 2008 Evolution class world title holder, utilizing Fountain's reputation and 30 years of offshore racing-and fishing competition expertise. "It has a lot to do with our brand image around the world," according to Reggie Fountain who says that the Powerboat P1 race format and rules like the power-to-weight ratio limits "help us develop more efficient hulls and set ups that use less fuel." Fountain believes that racing in general and P1 specifically is important because "you can have the best technology and the best boat in the world, but if nobody knows about it, what good does it do you?"

Worldwide television exposure as well as myriad racing internet sites and fan-friendly, live race coverage through Powerboat P1 Radio and Virtual Spectator (available at have given American marine companies an unprecedented level of exposure and sales opportunities over the past six years of Powerboat P1 Grand Prix of the Sea racing. The success is evident from the number of teams now using "Made in the USA" hulls, power trains, props and controls, not to mention the increased interest and sales of U.S. performance boats throughout Europe.

The Grand Prix of the Sea continues 2009 race action with an historic event in Istanbul, Turkey June 19 - 21. Here in the States, race fans can follow the action live through Powerboat P1 Radio and Virtual Spectator, with news reports via streaming video on American Powerboat TV. This year's Powerboat P1 World Championship features a number of new teams, sponsors and venues, with the series heading to Italy in July, Gothenburg, Sweden in August, returning to Italy in mid-September and the World Championship race scheduled for the Island Kingdom of Bahrain in November.