The “Tiffany blue” color scheme of the jaw-dropping boats from Wentzville, Mo.-based Marine Technology Inc., in the photo below isn’t the only thing the two boats captured running together by Tom Leigh during last week’s MTI Owners Fun Run in the Florida Keys have in common. The boats are built by MTI, are powered by Mercury Racing engines, were ordered and delivered through TNT Marine Sales in Miami, and are owned by South Florida performance boater Willy Cabeza.
Offshore racer and performance boat enthusiast Willy Cabeza had two boats at this month’s MTI Owners Fun Run—his 39-foot 450R Factory Stock-class raceboat and his brand new color-matched MTI-V 42 powered by Mercury Racing’s new V-10 400R engines. Photos by Tom Leigh/Tommy Gun Images
Cabeza, who has owned an MTI 390X and has one of the company’s new 440X cats on order, took delivery of the MTI-V 42 luxury performance center console just in time for the fun run and opted to elevate the experience—for his family and the 45-boat MTI family in attendance—by bringing the GC Racing MTI 390XR canopied catamaran he started racing last summer in the new 450R Factory Stock class with throttleman Gary Ballough by his side. Talk about an amazing experience.
“This new 42 is impressive—this is our first one and it’s real nice,” Cabeza said. “We had an incredible time, as usual, at the fun run. We look forward to the event because it’s in our backyard and we’ve got a lot of friends here. Since the raceboat wasn’t back in ‘race mode’ yet (meaning the two rear seats for offseason fun were still in it), we decided to bring both boats and wear all of our race gear. We had a blast. Hawks Cay is a great place for an event and everyone at MTI makes it so easy on all of us.”
“It’s a very good boat, especially with the new 400Rs,” Willy Cabeza said of his first MTI-V 42 luxury performance center console.
Cabeza, who is excited to start testing with Ballough in preparation for the first race of the American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series in Marathon, Fla., believes the MTI-V 42 is going to be ideal for his family.
“For the boating that we do in the Keys, anything bigger than this boat is a little too much for getting in and out of channels and shallower water,” Cabeza said. “The 42 is a comfortable—and capable—boat. It has no bow rise; it rides level all the time. It’s a very good boat, especially with the new 400Rs.”
Although he ordered the 42-footer with four Mercury Racing 450R engines, about a month before the Miami International Boat Show Cabeza was presented with the option of switching to the new V-10 400R options that Mercury was unveiling during the mid-February show. After consulting with Scism, they decided on the 400Rs for several reasons, including torque and midrange performance, overall fuel efficiency, propeller options with Mercury’s new Ventera line and the fact that the new engines run on 87-octane fuel. That was important to Cabeza as he plans to make family trips to The Bahamas and does not want to have to hunt for higher-octane fuel.
OK with losing a little on the top-end, Cabeza joked and said he didn’t buy the center console to go fast. “That’s what the raceboat is for,” he said—and the new 440X soon enough.
Even sitting still, the two MTIs are a striking pair.
Cabeza said the prominent color on both the center console and the raceboat was a request from his seven-year-old daughter, whose favorite color is Tiffany blue.
“She’s our biggest fan, so we let her choose,” he said then laughed.
Because it begged the question, Cabeza added that the 440X he has on order is not going to be color matched to the center console and raceboat.
Check out the slideshow above for more images of the GC Racing MTI in action. Photos by Tom Leigh and Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix
“Of course, MTI is the one that builds the boats and provided me with the racing opportunity with its services, but TNT has been with me every step of the way,” Cabeza said. “Steven (Fernandez) has gone above and beyond helping throughout the build process, with race team logistics, you name it, he does it. Johnny (Tomlinson) has been a huge help, too, when it comes to the race team. He’s a great person and an incredible competitor.
“We all know the guy is amazing, but you don’t really know how good these guys are until you have to compete against them,” he added. “He’s good. You have to be perfect to even have a shot. If you don’t run a perfect lap and have a perfect setup, you’re not going to be anywhere close.”
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