Rigging and dialing in three different raceboats this season was definitely not what Super Stock-class teammates Sean Conner and Shaun Torrente had in mind when they joined forces to race together with backing from CMR Construction and Roofing. Yet that’s what ended up happening in 2022 as Conner, Torrente and the talented crew at Shaun Torrente Racing in Southwest Florida worked tirelessly during the past few weeks to ready the team’s 32-foot MTI catamaran in time for this week’s three-race American Power Boat Association/Union Internationale Motonautique Offshore World Championships in Key West, Fla., which is produced by Race World Offshore.
Backed by CMR Construction and Roofing, Super Stock-class teammates Shaun Torrente and Sean Conner are excited to compete in their new 32-foot MTI catamaran at this week’s Offshore World Championships in Key West, Fla. Photos courtesy Shaun Torrente
Following the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix in early July where the team’s Mercury Racing 300R-powered Super Stock-class raceboat was significantly damaged in an accident, Torrente, the team manager and throttleman who is also a two-time F1H2O world champion driver and XCAT world champion with Team Abu Dhabi, worked out deals for two boats to keep the season moving forward.
First was the former CR Racing Doug Wright catamaran that was on loan for a few races from Steven Bridges, the owner of Team Bermuda, which is also competing in this week’s Super Stock world championships. Second was an MTI that Team Abu Dhabi built to race in the XCAT World Series several years ago. The latter took much longer to get to Florida from the Middle East—the boat cleared U.S. Customs less than three weeks ago—but without Torrente’s connection to the team, the deal likely would not have happened.
“There are a lot of people who had a hand in us getting the boat ready for Key West,” Torrente said. “I have to thank Team Abu Dhabi for selling the boat to us; they don’t sell very many things so the fact that they were willing to let us bring the boat back was awesome. And, of course, I have to thank MTI. They made parts out of the mold to make the boat narrower—we had to narrow the tunnel 5 inches to make it class legal—and they sent three guys here to help put it together. Rick Davies from Dynamic Auto Body in New York also flew down to help for a day and a half, which was huge for us because his body work is on another level. He worked on the bottom and got the running surfaces perfect.”
Torrente also recognized his hard-working team that labored for more than two weeks straight, sometimes up to 18 hours a day, as well as the team’s owner and driver for sticking around to do anything that was needed.
“My team is absolutely amazing; I don’t know what else to say,” he boasted. “And Sean, he’s incredible. He devoted a lot of time to getting the boat ready even though he didn’t have to do that.”
After testing the boat for a few days, both Conner and Torrente (above) feel like the first MTI entry in the Super Stock class is going to be pretty competitive.
“It’s competitive now, but it still isn’t where it needs to be,” said Torrente, who was featured in the 2021 Speed On The Water In The Lead series. “We did everything we could do in the timeline we were facing so all we can do is keep testing and give it our best. The most important thing for us is that it’s a really safe, solid boat with the most advanced cockpit design available. It has all the stuff in it they’re trying to mandate next year.”
Check out the slideshow above for more images of the CMR team’s new MTI.
Conner added that everyone on the team is happy the boat is finished.
“I’m excited to get out there and get on the water after all the work, effort and time that went into getting the boat ready to race,” Conner said on Monday evening on his way to Key West. “After I picked up the boat from Customs and got it back to Shaun’s shop, I wasn’t expecting to stay. But after seeing the amount of work that was needed to get the boat race-ready and knowing the amount of time there was to get it done, I knew I couldn’t leave. The days were long and there was a lot of sanding and painting and caulking along the way.
“We tried a lot of different setups while dialing it in and we’re pretty happy where it’s at,” he added. “We have the safest boat on the course and we’re pretty confident that if the races are rough—as predicted—that’s going to play into our favor.”
Time will tell how the team fares in Key West. In the meantime, the fact that the team finished the boat in time for the world championships was a win in and of itself.
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