After a review by its Offshore Racing Commission, the American Power Boat Association has officially approved sealed “competition” Mercury Racing 860 engines for use by teams in the Super Cat class for the 2022 season. The organization’s board of directors finalized the adoption of the naturally aspirated fuel-injected engines for use in the class last weekend.
Super Cat-class teams will have two power options this season. Photos from the 2021 American Power Boat Association/Union Internationale Motonautique World Championships in Key West, Fla., by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
In early January, Super Cat team owners voted unanimously to approve the Fond du Lac, Wis., company’s engines for the class. The owners notified Rich Luhrs, who chairs the APBA’s offshore racing category, and the approval process began.
“I believe there are two or three teams interested in running the 860 package this season,” said Luhrs.
The existing 750-hp, naturally aspirated carbureted original spec engines for the class remain an option for teams who prefer to stick with their existing power. Teams who opt for the higher-output Mercury Racing 860 engines will incur a weight penalty in concert with the length of their boats.
The move to adopt Mercury Racing 860s into the Super Cat class was spearheaded by the SV Racing team.
At present, only the SV Racing team’s Vinnie Diorio and Simon Prevost have the 860-hp engines in their raceboat. Their installation of those engines two seasons ago officially forced them out of the Super Cat ranks—at least by APBA rules for earning class points—for those seasons. Now, they can officially compete in the Super Cat ranks with those powerplants in their 39-foot Outerlimits catamaran.
“It’s great to see our class progress,” said Diorio. “I think there are a few others making the switch, which is exciting. The reliability will help more boats be there at the checkered flag, which should make it more exciting for the fans. And hopefully it will be more cost-effective for the teams.”
Though Tyler Miller, the new Super Cat owners representative and the owner of M CON team, plans to stick with his Sterling Performance engine program this season, he sees the new rule adoption as a positive move.
“The Mercury 860’s being adopted into the Super Cat class is a milestone that at one point seemed unobtainable,” he said. “However, with a class willing to continue progression and boat count it became reality. The class collectively had multiple in-depth discussions that lead us to the rules as written.”
Miller explained that he and his fellow Super Cat-class owners team owners understand that the adoption of the Mercury Racing 860 engines will be “a work in progress” with the additional horsepower and “how it will correlate to various boat manufacturers and running surfaces.”
“At the end of the day, there are several teams happy with their current engine programs as well as those teams that are happy with the Mercury 860 program,” he said. “Adopting it into the rulebook allows for continued growth of the class with phenomenal competition on the race course in front of all fans and spectators.”
Editor’s Note: Tyler Miller’s comments were added after today’s original story went live.