With five Class One teams currently registered for tomorrow’s Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix in Southwest Florida, the inaugural six-race American Power Boat Association Offshore Championship Series will see its largest turnout in the class to date. And joining the Class One ranks this time around, as well as returning to the sport since his most recent appearance at the 2018 Offshore World Championships last November in Englewood Beach, Fla., in his 40-foot Platinum catamaran is the ever-enthusiastic Jimmy “Serafino” Cazzani.
Captured here during the 2016 Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix, the former Alex And Ani raceboat will run tomorrow as Scuderia Cazzani Offshore Racing (click image to enlarge). Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Cazzani, who will be joined in the cockpit by OPA president Ed “Smitty” Smith, formerly campaigned the 40-footer as Alex And Ani, his primary backer. The jewelry giant exited the sport a couple of years ago and for budgetary reasons Cazzani throttled back his offshore racing efforts. But he never completely faded away and will run tomorrow in the cat, which has been renamed Scuderia Cazzani Offshore Racing.
“I met with Scott Colton, Steve Curtis and Gary Stray at the Cocoa Beach race (the APBA series season-opener) and they told me, ‘We need you in this class, you just have to turn down your engines to 1,100 horsepower and provide a dyno sheet.”
In full-power mode, the boat’s turbocharged Stotler Racing engines produce approximately 2,000 hp per side. Cazzani had the engines detuned to make the requisite 1,100 hp on pump gas and asked Smith to be his running mate.
“Detuning the engines and making the weight requirement wasn’t a problem, but we did have to make some adjustments to the boat,” he said. “We’re just going to get out there and run, but I think if the water gets rough we have a really good chance to do well.”
During its Alex And Ani sponsorship days, the team invited fans to sign its raceboat. Cazzani and company continued that tradition last night during the Block Party raceboat exhibits in downtown Sarasota, and he estimated that more than 3,000 people signed the hullsides of his silver catamaran.
Hullside autographs were the order of the evening at the Scuderia Cazzani Offshore Racing display during last night’s race team exhibit in downtown Sarasota.
But what really has him buzzing is the level of competition he and Smith will face tomorrow.
“We some fantastic teams here—Miss GEICO, Victory, 222 Offshore and so one,” he said. “We will be running against the best teams in the world, and I’m humbled by that. This morning we had the drivers’ meeting in this huge room, and the room was full. There are 62 registered boats here now, and by the end of the day there should be at least 70.”
Scuderia Cazzani Offshore Racing’s future race plans include Fort Myers Beach, Fla., in October—the final stop in the APBA series—and the OPA World Championships in November Englewood Beach, Fla.
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