When the 2023 Union Internationale Motonautique Class 1 season opens next spring, the new Sudrheim Offshore Racing team of Norway will be in the mix with teams from Australia, Sweden and the United States. But while the team is new to the Powerboat P1-produced Class 1 World Championship Series, it is anything but new to Class 1 competition. Most of its members were part of the legendary Spirit of Norway outfit that debuted in 1997 and won five world titles, three of those in commanding consecutive fashion.
With the new Sudrheim Offshore Racing team coming for the 2023 season, Norway will be back in the truly international Class 1 mix. Renderings courtesy/copyright Sudrheim Offshore Racing.
The team will be based in Sanford, Fla., and will run a 43-foot Victory catamaran—formerly run by the Class 1 Qatar team—powered by Mercury Racing 1100 Comp engines, which will be spec power without exception in the 2023 season. Team owner and driver Ove Troen will share the cockpit with throttleman Pal Virik Nilsen.
Troen has been building the Sudrheim Offshore Racing team for three years. He described joining Class 1 as a “dream come true.”
“I’m proud to have put together a talented and vastly experienced team that includes throttleman Pal Virik Nilsen, technical director Rolf Arnestad and consultant Gro Helgesen,” he explained in a press release from Class 1/Powerboat P1 this morning. “It’s exciting that Class 1 is growing and that we will compete at the pinnacle of offshore racing.
“I can’t wait to get the whole organization welded together and to test the boat,” he added.
Troen chairs the Sudrheim Gruppen, a family-owned investment firm specializing in property ownership, development and green innovation, including involvement in the hotel industry and aviation. The company owns hotels in Arendal, Norway’s leading maritime town and powerboat racing venue, where Troen said he “grew up with Class 1.”
The team is slated to begin testing the 43-footer in March. While the 2023 season will be Troen’s first foray into the Class 1 ranks, Nilsen has extensive experience in the class and—with 300-plus powerboat races to his credit—the sport itself.
“I’ve competed in more than 50 Class 1 races and it will be my job to ease Ove into the series and make him feel confident in both me and the boat,” he said. “I am very happy to be part of this new Class 1 team with such experienced colleagues, and sharing the boat with Ove will be interesting and fun.”
Nilsen’s Sudrheim Offshore Racing teammates have similarly impressive resumes. Arnestad has more than 20 years of experience in the motorsports world as a mechanic and crew chief. Helgesen entered powerboat racing with the Spirit of Norway team in 2000 and ran the Qatar-backed team from 2008 to 2016.
“We are delighted that Sudrheim Offshore Racing will be flying the flag for Norway next season in the UIM Class 1 race series and we can now look forward to enjoying another Scandinavian team battling for the world title,” said Azam Rangoonwala, the chief executive officer of Powerboat P1. “Our principal goal is to grow the Class 1 championship commercially and promote the series both in the United States and internationally to deliver enhanced value for race teams, host venues, sponsors and partners.
“We will return Class 1 to the summit of offshore racing by attracting more teams and building the worldwide television audience,” he added.
The Sudrheim Offshore Racing team’s entry is welcome news for current Class 1 teams that include 222 Offshore Australia, Team Defalco, df Young, Huski Chocolate and Allegra Motorsports.
“It’s great to see another team joining the class 1 fleet,” said Rich Wyatt, the owner and throttleman of the df Young team, which will replace the existing engines in its 50-foot Mystic Powerboats catamaran with Mercury 1100 Comp mills in the off-season, We always welcome the competition. I wish them the best in the ’23 season.”
Added df Young driver Marc Granet, “This is such great news—a truly international fleet is coming together in Class 1 and it’s really exciting to see. I look forward to racing against them.”
Granet paused, then chuckled. “You can never underestimate a team of Vikings.”
The Sudrheim Offshore Racing plans to begin testing in March.
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