History will be made next week when the World Professional Powerboat Association welcomes the first ever woman driver to the Union Internationale Motonautique XCAT World Series, which opens up its 2015 season in Fujairah, UAE (Feb. 25-27).
Swecat Racing throttleman Mikael Bengtsson (from left), team manager Marcus Friberg and Veronica Olderin—the first woman pilot in the UIM XCAT World Series—will race next week in the Fujairah Grand Prix. Photo courtesy XCAT World Series
According to an XCAT World Series press release, Sweden’s Veronica Olderin will join former Class 3C world champion Mikael Bengtsson in the Swecat Racing team, which is one of four new teams joining XCAT time this season. Certainly no stranger to powerboat racing, Olderin, who has been involved in the sport since her teens, is excited to get her first taste of XCAT racing.
“My father has been competing my whole life so when I turned 18 I had my first race with him,” Olderin said. “After that I bought my first boat and since then I have been competing with an all-girl team in different classes. I have several Swedish gold medals and some pretty good finishes in the European championships.”
Swecat Racing has invested in two new boats constructed by the Dubai-based Victory Team—one to race in the series and one for practice and training in Sweden.
“We are very grateful to the Victory Team and to the WPPA who have helped us to be a part of the World Series,” said Niklas Sjöö, CEO of the Swecat Racing team. “What is really special is that all the team members own the company together—we all have shares.”
The Swecat Racing team with its boat at the Victory Team headquarters in Dubai.
Team manager, Marcus Friberg, said the team will be working with defending champions Fazza (Arif al Zaffain and Nadir bin Hendi) this week in preparation for their first race.
“Our main goal is to complete the races and represent Sweden well—because we are the national offshore team for Sweden now, it’s a huge responsibility and a great honor for us to do this because offshore racing in Sweden is a big thing,” Friberg said. “We have probably 400 active teams racing in different divisions. So these drivers we’ve got on our team are handpicked. They’ve won the most titles and have the best charisma and best drive to do the best work.”
As for Olderin herself, she hopes her presence in the series will inspire other women drivers.
“Hopefully it will be a positive reaction and the other teams will welcome me as well as all of the other new teams,” Olderin said.