Just 15 minutes ago at the Miami International Boat Show, Mercury Racing pulled the sheets off its 1350- and 1300-hp turbocharged engines, as well as the brand-new M8 dry sump drive that was designed and built to handle them. Based on a 552-cubic-inch, 32-valve quad-overhead-cam platform (QC4v), the engines are the most sophisticated products in Mercury Racing history, according to Fred Kiekhaefer, the company’s president.
The closed-cooled aluminum engines—both the block and cylinder heads are aluminum—were designed to eliminate the torque deficiency and “turbo lag” that are commonly associated with turbocharged engines. To accomplish these goals the Mercury Racing design team used electronically actuated waste gates and pulse-tuned exhaust. Pulse tuning exhaust is common in two-stroke engines but unique in four-stroke applications—Mercury Racing is actually applying for a patent for the new technology. Both of the engines turbochargers, one for each bank of cylinders, are water-cooled.
Controlling all engine—and transmission—functions is a Motorola PCM10 controller. The PCM10 reportedly has 10 times the computing power of prior Motorola products.
In standard ambient-air induction (meaning the engine takes cooling air from the engine compartment) form, the power plant makes 1,300 hp. Set up for direct-air induction (where cooling air comes from outside the engine compartment via a specially designed hatch system), then engine produces 1,350 hp. In either form—1,300- or 1,350-hp—the new engine produces 1,300 foot-pounds of torque.
That torque output exceeds the rating of Mercury Racing’s Dry Sump No. 6 drive, so the company developed a new drive for the 1300 and 1350. Called the M8, the dry-sump drive features a new gear case, stronger gears, redesigned bearings and beefier supports, and an electronically engaged, fully integrated “active anode” to reduce corrosion. For added stability at high speeds, the M8 drive’s skeg is 1 inch longer than that of a No. 6 drive.
According to the folks at Mercury Racing, the new engines are significantly more fuel-efficient and quieter that other models in the same power range. They also reportedly meet Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board exhaust emissions standards.
For more comprehensive stories on Mercury Racing’s 1350 and 1300 engines, as well as the M8 drive, check out the upcoming Powerboat magazine.
I wrote the article and, frankly, I was amazed. Releasing such high-level engine-and-drive products—and you can bet they will have commensurately high prices—at this point in time is in a bold move. And one I think, because of the products themselves, will pay off.