Crew chief Gary Swanson will share the cockpit of the Supercat-class SV Racing Outerlimits catamaran with co-owner/throttleman Vinnie Diorio this weekend at Thunder On Cocoa Beach, the season opener of the American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series. The Wisconsin-based team arrived at the Florida venue this morning following two days of testing and dial-in at Lake X, Mercury Racing’s storied test facility in nearby St. Cloud.
Currently in Cocoa Beach, Fla., in advance of this weekend’s APBA Offshore National Championship Series season-opener, SV Racing tested earlier this week at Lake X.
“Gary has been testing the boat with me out of Sweetwater Performance Center and Marina in Oshkosh (Wis.) for more than a year as (team co-owner) Simon Prevost hasn’t been able to get into the country from Canada,” Diorio said. “He rigged the boat with our new Mercury Racing 860 engines with Kyle Micke. Nick Kieffer and John Walllace..
“Now, he gets to run the boat with me all weekend,” he continued. “It’s a nice reward for all the hard work he’s done.”
Swanson called it a once-in-a-lifetime chance, adding that he’s comfortable alongside Diorio since they’ve test together a lot.
“Vin didn’t really ask—he told me I was wheeling,” he said, then laughed. “I might be the only guy in the world who’s OK with the Canadian border being closed.”
Vinnie Diorio (left) and Gary Swanson will share the SV Racing cockpit this weekend.
Because the 39-footer has been repowered with the 860-hp naturally aspirated, electronically fuel-injected Mercury Racing engines, a departure from the spec 750-hp naturally aspirated carbureted engines for the class, SV Racing will run in the Class 1 ranks this season. Diorio and Swanson will be competing against the Miss GEICO and SilverHook teams. The Class 1 fleet reportedly will start Sunday’s competition with the Canada Homes, M CON and WHM Supercat-class teams.
Regardless of what happens this weekend, this week’s highpoint for Diorio and Swanson is the time they spent at Lake X. In addition to the Mercury Racing technicians who joined and assisted them, Steve Curtis—who has long consulted with Outerlimits on its catamaran program—was on hand to help.
“It was freaking awesome just to be there with all the history and everything else behind Lake X,” Diorio said. “Everything you need is there—and you have a closed course. No matter where you usually test, there are people on the water that you have to watch out for.
“I can’t believe the difference the 860s make,” he continued. “They have so much torque. You hit the throttles and you’re gone. And they’re reliable. I’m mad I didn’t repower with them sooner.”
Working with Curtis, they found setups for both flat and rough water, the latter being the most likely they’ll use at the notoriously rough Cocoa Beach venue this weekend. They’ll test again on Saturday.
When Prevost can enter the country, Swanson will return to his original role.
“I will race with Vin until Simon is back,” he said. “All joking aside, I will be glad when Simon comes back and I have only one role—crew chief.”
Diorio’s son, Vincenzo, and wife, Danielle, joined the team for the Lake X test sessions.
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