It is with heavy hearts we say farewell to our leader and General Manager Erik Christiansen. Erik is leaving Mercury Racing to work for a privately held company outside of the marine industry.
Erik has over 20 years of service with Mercury Marine. He started his career in the Mercury engineering department where he was instrumental in the design and development of the Verado outboard. He transferred to Mercury Racing Engineering in 2002.
He immediately made his mark by making improvements to Racing’s big block sterndrive family of the day. He transformed the 1050 SCi into the 1075 SCi, 850 SCi, and 1200 SCi consumer sterndrives and the Class 1 competition engine. He also spearheaded development of the 600 SCi sterndrive and Racing’s first dual calibration sterndrive, the 1200/1025 SCi. Erik was also involved with the development of Racing’s first Verado outboard, the 350 SCi .
Erik’s true legacy was the development of the QC4 (Quad Cam Four Valve) sterndrive engine family. The demand for larger, heavier boats with automotive creature comforts such as large screen monitors, high-end stereo systems and air conditioning called for reliable, higher power propulsion.
The automotive based big block engines were limited in producing reliable power output, primarily due to the push rod valve train. The duty cycles for marine engines is incredibly harsh. They are under a constant load at a high operating RPM. Offshore use is even more challenging.
I’ve conducted many tours of the Racing manufacturing floor over the years. I always like to tell Erik’s QC4 story when we arrive in the area of the plant where they are produced.
Erik was passionate about the Verado engine design and its Dual Over Head Cam valve train. The story goes he would spend his lunch hours sketching a sterndrive engine with a DOHC valve train and thinking, “This would make a killer sterndrive.”
The QC4 platform revolutionized the performance boat industry upon its 2010 release. Erik would soon after be promoted to Director of Engineering.
He would again rise within the organization with his promotion as General Manager upon Fred Kiekhaefer’s departure at the end of 2012. Racing continued to release game changing products under Erik’s leadership over the last five years. These included the 520, 540 and 565 sterndrives, the Verado 400R outboard and the dual calibration QC4 1550 /1350 sterndrive. Erik was the drive behind Mercury Racing’s return to offshore race dominance, both domestically and internationally. He also spearheaded the repower of the XCAT series from the legacy 2.5 EFI 2-strokes to the fourstroke 400 ROS.
Erik was behind the wheel in driving Mercury’s 2013 return to the automotive industry with the debut of QC4 aftermarket crate engine. The QC4 1350 is the power within the award winning 1970 Dodge Charger deemed, “Tantrum.” Three years later Erik would again revolutionize a given engine platform with QC4 engine influence. The 750 h.p. SB4 engine features a scaled down version of the durable QC4 valve train on a 7.0 Liter LS cylinder block packed with Racing specified components. The engine is available through our distributor Roadster Shop.
Erik mentioned his main career goal while at Racing was to make an impact and leave the company in little better shape from when he started. Mission accomplished.
Thank you Erik for all you have done for Mercury Racing and the marine industry. We wish you and your family all the best in your new venture.