In his second full year as president of Mercury Racing, Erik Christiansen had one heck of a roller-coaster year. From traveling to the Middle East and around the United States testing, promoting and enjoying the engines the Fond du Lac, Wis., company produces to the loss of Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats founder Mike Fiore—someone he had grown to know well over the years and was there in April to witness Fiore’s V-bottom set a 180-mph kilo record (read the story)—from a business perspective, 2014 is a year Christiansen recognized as positive overall.
Mercury Racing President Erik Christiansen expects 2015 to be even busier and more productive than 2014.
As you’ll read below, Christiansen, who was at his desk today making plans for the New Year, is optimistic about his third year at the helm of Mercury Racing.
What appears most exciting to you about the performance boat market in 2015?
Obviously we’ll have some big announcements for the Miami International Boat Show that we’re very excited about. Not only will Mercury have some new product enhancements to showcase, I think there will be a lot of product introductions in this industry over the next year. I expect to see even more progress in the high-performance market in 2015. We’ve been encouraged by the number of 520 engines being sold in the market, too. We’re starting to see more of that and hope it’s a trend.
I think it will be interesting to see what happens on the racing front—there are a lot of things going on. The XCAT series overseas is doing really well and there’s some cool stuff happening stateside. We’re starting to see more excitement in this segment than we’ve seen in some time and are happy to be ambassadors for the sport, so to speak. I’m excited about the current and new race series, and the possibility of more teams and more races. That XCAT class is really something. As you know, the Dubai-based Victory Team has been testing a derivative of the Verado engine for a while and they ran the engines—in an exhibition form since they aren’t homologated for racing yet—and finished first in the final race of the year (read the story).
Racing aside, the interest in our products from people internationally is exciting. People are very passionate about performance boats outside the U.S. It’s not as big of a market as it is in this country, of course, but the international crowd is just as passionate.
Finally, just talking with many of the boat companies out there, everybody has a lot of aggressive plans for 2015. It’s really exciting to me when boat builders talk about new product and how stoked they are about new launches. It’s nice to hear, and it’s nice to be a part of it.