When the Super Stock class teams take the green flag on Saturday, July 1, at the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix, they’ll be vying for more than points in the five-race American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series. They’ll be making history as the event is race-production No. 700 for Powerboat P1, which is based in the United Kingdom and is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
Based in Sarasota, the hometown CELSIUS team will be vying for top honors, APBA series points and more in the Super Stock contest next month. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Azam Rangoonwala, the chief executive officer of Powerboat P1, will present two commemorative glass trophies celebrating race No. 700 after the event.
“This is a significant milestone for our business and one which we are looking forward to marking in Sarasota,” Rangoonwala said. “Two decades of P1 Offshore and AquaX racing has seen us stage races in almost 20 countries, and at the same time as we celebrate the past we are making plans for the future to continue to grow both our business and marine motorsport.
“I wonder where we will be staging our 1,000th race,” he added.
The 700-race total includes contests from the earliest days of Powerboat P1, which was founded by Asif Rangoonwala, the father of Azam Rangoonwala, Two V-bottom classes, Evolution (canopied) and Super Sport (open cockpit) comprised the organization’s first racing series, which began with nine boats competing in the Tyrrhenian Sea off Nettuno, Italy—approximately 37 miles from Rome—in 2003.
Though the organization eventually phased out the Evolution/Super Sport circuit, it later added the AquaX personal watercraft circuit and the One-Design/Panther series to its race-production/promotion roster. In 2019, Powerboat P1 returned to the larger offshore powerboat racing world with the APBA Offshore World Championship Series, which it co-produced with the Offshore Powerboat Association.
From the outset, the move primarily was about reviving Union Internationale Motonautique Class 1 competition, which had fallen into dormancy and was lumbering toward extinction. Rangoonwala secured a 10-year marketing and media deal for Class 1 races and, despite the setback of the canceled 2020 season, has pursued that goal ever since.
The 2019 Class 1 season attracted three teams, 222 Offshore Australia, Miss GEICO and Victory, which fielded two boats that year. Despite that the Victory team is on the sidelines this season, the 2023 Class 1 World Championship Series boasts eight committed teams, although the Norway-based Sudrheim Offshore Racing team has not yet competed.
Said Powerbot P1 head Azam Rangoonwala, “I wonder where we will be staging our 1,000th race.”
While there are five events in the 2023 Class 1 series, there actually are six races as there will be Saturday and Sunday contests at the Midwest Challenge in August. The Sheboygan, Wis., event is being presented by Mercury Racing as part of the Fond du Lac, Wis., high-performance marine propulsion and accessories company’s ongoing 50th anniversary celebration.
The Super Stock class is the only “spec” offshore racing category competing on July 1, though several Bracket classes will race that day. The rest of the spec classes including Class 1, which will qualify for starting position that Saturday, will race on Sunday, July 2.
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