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Despite Early Glitches, Indy Drive Solid

In February this year at the Miami International Boat Show, the public got its first look at the Indy stern-drive from Ilmor Marine. Expectations were justifiably high given Ilmor’s reputation—built on its stellar V-10 engine line—for top-shelf engineering, quality construction and reliability.

That’s probably why a few mechanical issues in the earliest production-model Indy drives released in June raised eyebrows a bit higher than they should have been raised. Ilmor set a high bar for itself with its engines, which made anything less than perfection—from day one—unacceptable for the Indy drive. So the naysayers had a field day.

“Some of the problems showed up right away, but they were not design flaws, just niggling little things that happen when you make the transformation from production to prototype,” Paul Ray, Ilmor’s president, told me last night. “We had a few teething troubles, and we’ve handled them as professionally and fairly as we could. We think we have a bulletproof product now, but you really don’t know that until you have hundreds of units in the field.”

Right now, there are 25 Indy drives in the field, including two on the transom of an Eliminator 28 Speedster catamaran powered by twin 725-hp Ilmor engines.

“It’s running 152 mph,” said Ray. “That’s pretty impressive, but we think there’s even more in there.”