By now, most adrenaline-seeking boaters and Mercury Racing fans have heard about the supercharged 450R product announcement. And, while the noise about the news is still loud, there’s even more to share.
The guest experience during Mercury Racing’s 450R introductory event in Nashville included an on-water demo day where boat builders, their customers, media and more captured first glimpses and took breathtaking rides on eight boats powered by the 450R. This Poker Run-style trip on the water began in downtown Nashville, passed through the locks, headed up the Cumberland River, and included three stops on Old Hickory Lake.
At the event’s conclusion at Blue Turtle Bay Marina, poker hands were dealt in exchange for chips collected along the run, and the highest hand was secured by Mr. Mark Tysinger of Hampton, VA. To celebrate the win, Mercury Racing made a $5,000 donation on behalf of Mr. Tysinger to Operation Stand Down Tennessee.
Founded in 1993, Operation Stand Down Tennessee is a non-profit organization that provides Tennessee-based veterans and their families resources focused on transition, employment, housing, benefits, peer engagement, volunteerism and connection to the community. Its goal is to engage, equip and empower veterans and it employs 45 staff members – 65% of whom are veterans. The organization is supported by federal grants, fundraising events and donor gifts such as the $5,00 donation from Mercury Racing.
There’s not much in the on-water speed world that can top and introduction of a company’s fastest, most powerful engine . . . unless it’s a company announcing its fastest, most powerful product launch and pausing to give thanks and support to the men and women who make possible its pursuit of wide-open freedom.
To learn more about Operation Stand Down Tennessee, please visit osdtn.org or call (615) 248-1981.
Nick Petersen and I just returned from the 16th annual Boyne Thunder Poker Run, July 12-13. Nick is our Propeller Specialist and Project Manager. What a spectacular experience on every level!
The event has grown to be one of the most popular poker runs in the country. Boat count has grown from 85 in 2010 to 120 this year. Activities began Friday, July 12 with the annual Boyne Thunder Stroll the Streets event. Our Mercury Racing Experience truck was front and center at the intersection of Main and Lake Street. The weather was just perfect. People traffic through the truck was non-stop throughout the evening. The all-new 450R outboard was the star of the show. The Cold Fusion White Rear Tie-Bar cat model and a cut-a-way display of the same model in Phantom Black were leading topics of conversation and backdrops for social media selfie pics.
The most common question was “how much.” When we responded that MSRP ranges from $53K-$64K, depending on the model, the common response was, “that’s what we thought.” Warranty and fuel requirements were also a hot topic. Consumers and boat builder partners were pleased to learn the 450R runs on 89-octane fuel and is backed by a three-year factory warranty, with up to five years of Mercury Product Protection available.
Nick and I got to participate in the poker run on Saturday with Florida Powerboat Club founder Stu Jones and his family in Project 1080, Stu’s Resto Mod Cigarette 38 Top Gun powered by twin Mercury Racing 540 sterndrives. This was a special treat: It was Nick’s first visit to Boyne, and my first time to do the entire run. We were in the first flight of boats; It was exhilarating to come on plane with a number of like-size performance boats as we progressed down Lake Charlevoix toward Lake Michigan.
The 145-mile run includes card stops in Northport, Elk Rapids, Harbor Springs and Bay Harbor, and a lunch stop in downtown Charlevoix. Lake Michigan served up two to four-foot seas – quite forgiving considering what she is capable of producing.
It was great to see so many of our industry friends supporting the event onsite. Speed on the Water’s Pete Boden was behind the lens, photographing all of the action from a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter. Nor-Tech sales rep Terry Sobo made the trip with a new boat in tow for delivery to an ecstatic customer. American Custom Marine owner and Mercury Racing dealer Mike Knoblock represented us well with the Racing Experience Truck parked in front of his customer-appreciation event Thursday evening, with Racing banners visible for all to see.
Mike capped the event by splashing an all-new Nor-Tech 390 Sport center console with triple 450Rs. The new owner ran with Mike on the 390’s maiden voyage over the Pure Michigan waters. “I can tell it’s fast, Stu said, “that thing passed us like we were standing still.”
It’s always great to hang out with Speedboat Magazine’s Ray Lee and Todd Taylor. Michigan based Skater rep Tony Cutsuries was impressed with seeing the 450Rs in person for the first time.
It was nice catching up with Dan Kleitz of Outerlimits; he’s eternally pleasant and upbeat. Doc Jansen is living the Racing brand – running Wide Open as much as possible in his Dual Calibration 1550/1350 powered Outerlimits. It was fun to see former- offshore-racer-turned-poker-run-enthusiast Rick Bowling and his 1350-powered Gone Again Talon catamaran. It was Rick’s and Ray Lee’s first Boyne Thunder experience, and both were impressed.
The three major benefactors of Boyne Thunder are the Main Street program, Camp Quality, and Challenge Mountain.
The Main Street program’s mission focuses on maintaining a vibrant downtown while preserving its historical heritage and supporting sustainable projects. Some of the projects that people enjoy are Stroll the Streets on Friday nights, the Farmer’s Market every Wednesday and Saturday throughout the year, a pedestrian and bicycle friendly downtown, and façade improvement grants for local businesses.
Since it began, Boyne Thunder has raised more than $500,000 for Camp Quality, a nonprofit organization that provides special experiences and support for children with cancer.
Challenge Mountain is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching and improving lives for the mentally and physically challenged through outdoor recreation. All donated dollars to Challenge Mountain go directly to support winter and summer programs including skiing, biking, canoeing, kayaking and sailing.
“What makes Boyne Thunder special is the number of volunteers that pitch in to make the event run smoothly. Most all of the volunteers have a connection to one of the benefactor organizations but come together to work on the event and promote the event’s mission, not their own. Each of our committee members handle various components of the event and work with those volunteers in their areas and with great communication, we have found this business model works for us,” said event organizer and Boyne Thunder Board Chairmen Bob Alger.
Mercury Racing is honored to be associated with events such as this, where the entire poker run event staff is voluntary. No egos. No hidden agendas. Just a community event focused on promoting the sport we love which in turn supports a great cause.
The classic hull is updated from helm to stern with modern hardware. Mechanical throttle and shift cables were replaced with Digital Throttle and Shift (DTS). The digital cables transmit real-time data from the engines to the helm and is then displayed on the Mercury VesselView 703 touchscreen monitor. The Mercury Racing Digital Zero Effort Control transmits data back to the 540 sterndrives – signaling driver intent with effortless shifting and instant throttle response.
Stu is now focused on dialing in props. He is starting with a selection of Mercury Racing Bravo I props. He will follow up with our performance propeller specialists, Scott Reichow and Nick Petersen, to ensure he gets maximum performance for the boat’s primary application as FPC’s official pace boat. Stu loads the boat with performance-boating enthusiasts who get to enjoy a first-hand experience of the best poker runs on the water.
The sea trial was the culmination of a project that involved stripping the 2000 model year boat to an empty shell, and updating all aspects of the legendary hull from bow to stern in form, fit and function.
Stu was anxious to share his first-time experience in the Resto Mod Cigarette with us.
“It was an amazing experience, given how the project evolved from a a simple repower to a complete restoration. It is amazing how it turned out. I honestly felt like I was driving an entirely new boat,” said Stu.
Installation of the 540 sterndrives and all rigging was handled by Pat Sullivan and his crew at Performance Marine Trading.
Stu handed over the helm to Pat, a former offshore racer for the initial shake down cruise. Pat eased the Zero Effort controls forward as the 540s quickly brought the Cigarette on plane. The epic vee-bottom handled the ocean swells with ease.
Pat said, “Stu you really have a great package here. The switch from mechanical to digital controls is like night and day. There is no comparison. And beauty of the new power is you don’t really have to worry about anything. These engines are so reliable, you just push the throttles and go.”
The Project 1080 Cigarette will make it’s pace boat debut this weekend at FPC’s Winter Poker Run to the Florida Keys, the first run for the 2019 season.The durable 280S K-Plane trim tabs worked like a charm. Both Pat and Stu grew an appreciation for the intuitive design of the VesselView 703 touch screen monitor as well. The replication of vital engine data on the larger Garmin display was easy on the eyes, providing a constant view of vital functions throughout their 20-minute journey.
Pat and Stu will return to dial-in props to take full advantage of the 540s’ 4800-5400 operating rpm range.
The Project 1080 Cigarette will make it’s pace boat debut this weekend at FPC’s Winter Poker Run to the Florida Keys, the first run for the 2019 season.
We are there in force with factory reps supporting both events. Mercury Racing QC4 sterndrives compete in the Superboat Unlimited class, while the legacy 300XS outboards are featured propulsion for stock outboard competitors. The race format entails three days of racing: Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Class championships are awarded to those with the greatest number of points earned throughout the week.
Best Hand Wins
Over 90% of the Key West Poker Run participants rely on Mercury Racing propulsion. That is an impressive stat considering a record 215 boats are registered for this year’s event. The engine mix ranges from our legacy two-stroke 300XS outboard to the Dual Calibration QC4 1550 sterndrive. The 400R is by far the most popular outboard – the power of choice for high-performance catamarans and center consoles.
“It’s truly amazing how the sport continues to evolve with new technology. We could never have imagined Verados from Mercury and Mercury Racing would account for 50% of our poker run fleet!” said FPC founder Stu Jones.
I reached out to Stu to get his input regarding the state of the club and performance boating in general.
“It just keeps getting more and more exciting … as new blood comes to our membership roster, and I continue to meet people from across the country and around the globe.”
“There’s a passion among these people that drives me and keeps me focused on running some of the biggest and safest poker run events in the country. I strive to work with other organizers as well, so we can achieve a common goal of growing our sport and bring new blood to performance boating.”
“Technological advancements have greatly enhanced the user experience. The boats are going farther, skipping fuel stops, and completing the poker run every time. Our attrition numbers for a typical run are down to single digits, which is something that we would never think possible. I’m having a real hard time giving away the broken propeller award because everybody seems to get there now.”
“We appreciate the continued support from Mercury Racing … which recognizes the importance of the sport and the lifestyle that it gives to so many people. Our 26th Key West Poker Run is underway with a fantastic start, beautiful weather in the Keys.”
FPC’s poker run village, located at Conch Republic Sea Food Company will be hopping into the weekend with participants and fans alike checking out the awesome hardware on display from various performance boat builders and associated vendors.
Resto Mod Cigarette
Project 1080, the FPC’s Resto Mod pace boat, is on static display in the Cigarette booth at the Key West Poker Run village. The Cigarette booth is adjacent to our Mercury Racing Experience Truck display.
The boat is flanked with display panels featuring a timeline of the restoration project as well as FPC’s 25-year history, along with the history of the legendary Cigarette brand.
Mercury Racing Experience
Our Experience Truck will be packed with exciting product displays and our factory reps will be eager to talk about them. Featured products include the versatile Dual Calibration 1350/1100 sterndrive, the all-new V-8 4.6L 300R FourStroke outboard and 400R cutaway outboard display.
For those of you lucky enough to be in Key West, be sure to stock up on Official Mercury Racing Merchandise – available for purchase at the Racing truck. Merchandise will be sold Thursday through Saturday.
Check out the latest Project 1080 video. Stu and Performance Marine Trading owner Pat Sullivan discuss the advantages of our Integrated Transom System, an option for the Bravo One XR sterndrive that works well with the Cigarette Top Gun.
The boat was moved from the rigging shop to an aluminum fabrication shop where a custom swim platform will be rigged and built from scratch. While there, the cabin upholstery will be installed as well.
Project 1080 will be on static display in the Cigarette booth at the Key West Poker Run village. The Cigarette booth is adjacent to our Mercury Racing Experience Truck display.
The boat will be flanked with display panels featuring a timeline of the restoration project as well as FPC’s 25-year history along with the history of the legendary Cigarette brand.
Our Experience Truck will be packed with exciting product displays and our factory reps will be eager to talk about them. Be sure to stock up on Official Mercury Racing merchandise – available for purchase at the truck Thursday through Saturday, November 8-10.
We are looking forward to seeing the Resto Mod 1080 Cigarette in Key West.
Deemed Project 1080, the restoration with fresh Racing propulsion formalizes our long standing marketing partnership with FPC.
FPC founder Stu Jones is restoring the classic Cigarette from bow to stern with a refreshed cockpit, cabin, flooring and paint.
“I watch some of the custom car shows and auctions on TV, and the term Resto-Mod really stuck out in my head. I just felt like there would be nothing cooler than a classic, straight-bottom Cigarette, with brand new 2018 state-of-the-art hardware and power from bow to stern. This project is so exciting, I feel like a kid again!,” said Stu.
Mercury Racing dealer Performance Marine Trading in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida is performing the installation and rigging of the engines, drives and accessories.Mercury Racing digital Zero Effort Controls will offer smooth throttle and shift response to the 540 sterndrives. A Mercury VesselView 502 monitor will provide vital engine and vessel data. the revised helm will be complemented with an array of digital analog gauges as well.
Mercury Racing dealer Performance Marine Trading in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida is performing the installation and rigging of the engines, drives and accessories.
We are excited to feature Mercury Racing 540 sterndrives in FPC’s official pace boat. We’ve been with Stu and Jackie throughout their 25-year run. We continue to back FPC for their emphasis on providing safe, organized events for our customers.
Project 1080 is set to make its public debut at FPC’s Emerald Coast Poker Run event, August 15-19 in Destin/Ft. Walton Beach, Florida.
Greetings from Key West! We are here to support and celebrate the Florida Powerboat Club’s 25th anniversary Key West Poker Run. We are proud to again be the Presenting Sponsor of this prestigious event which has over 180 registered poker teams from around the globe taking the 170 mile scenic tour from Miami to Key West.
“Congratulations to Stu, Jackie and the entire Florida Powerboat Club on 25 years of this signature poker run. You have set the bar for safe, well organized events and we are honored to be affiliated with such a quality organization. We wish you many more years of success;” Mercury Racing General Manager Erik Christiansen.
Mercury Racing Experience
The Mercury Racing Experience Truck is again a featured display in the Poker Run Village.
Factory reps will be on hand to answer questions and provide details regarding our Race to Repower program. Scott Reichow is available to provide advise regarding propeller applications.
Get you Race Gear Here!
Official Mercury Racing Merchandise is available for purchase. Don’t miss out! Quantities are limited. The Experience truck and merchandise tent will be open 3 pm to 10 pm Thursday; 10 am to 10 pm Friday and Saturday.
The Mercury Racing Experience truck is located just West of the intersection of Querio Street and McCulloch Boulevard in what is one of the world’s greatest collection of high performance powerboats and tow vehicles.
Mercury Racing factory reps are eager to talk about our full range of high performance propulsion, including the all new – naturally aspirated QC4v 860 sterndrive and 400R Carbon Edition outboard.
We will be showing our integrated helm controls and the latest in VesselView touch screen monitors as well.
Propeller Specialist Scott Reichow is educating consumers and industry partners on everything they need to know about Mercury Racing Propellers.
She’s Worth it!
Our Race to Repower promotion, featuring unprecedented deals on 520, 540 and 565 sterndrives, is available for those who are ready to freshen up their favorite hull with new power.
This is the perfect opportunity to update not only power but also user friendly digital controls. Today’s motors offer greater displacement when compared to the 8.2 Liter 500 carb, 500 EFI, 525 EFI and 575 SCi engines they are replacing.) This results with enhanced hole shot, mid range punch and improved overall efficiency and boat performance. Be sure ask our experts about this limited time offer. She’s worth it!
Power Up and Chill Out!
Qualified prospects who take a brief survey while visiting the Mercury Racing truck will get a free Mercury Racing visor. Visor quantities are limited so be sure to get to the truck early. Survey respondents will also be entered to win our grand prize; a custom 30 quart Mercury Racing Pelican cooler with matching 32-ounce tumblers.
Go Boldly with Mercury Racing Merchandise
Mercury Racing merchandise is available to purchase throughout the event. We have a full array of items for guys and gals.
Make sure to snag a souvenoir event T-shirt as well as Race to Repower and QC4v Experience Ts. All are limited quantities. Get yours before they run out!
It’s party time! The Mercury Racing Experience truck is front and center at the Desert Storm Poker Run Street Party. Our temporary address is easy to remember…1550 McCulloch Boulevard! 🙂 We are excited to once again be a part of the largest performance boat gathering West of the Mississippi.
Performance prop guru Scott Reichow is on site to talk props and reveal our latest wheel, The Lab Finished MAX5.
Satisfy Your Drive
Performance boat builders and dealers are finding the Sport Master gearcase enables them to achieve significantly higher boat speeds by allowing Verado 400R outboards to run at higher transom heights than models fitted with a production style case. To date, maximizing efficiency of the surfacing, low water pickup gear housing had only been limited by propeller slip. Customers have been eager to find a solution to take full advantage of the Sport Master’s capabilities.
The custom five blade MAX5, developed and hand-crafted by the Mercury Racing Propeller Lab, is custom designed for single and multiple Verado 400R Sport Master applications. The Lab Finished prop provides a measurable reduction in propeller slip, (up to a staggering 12% in some applications). In fact, MAX5 props were the thrust behind Nor-Tech Powerboats’ milestone center console performance run, clocking repeatable 101 MPH top-end speeds from their quad Verado 400R powered 39-foot hull.
The 15-inch diameter prop is offered in a pitch range of 23 to 34 inches in one-half inch increments. The one-half inch pitch offerings enable engines to be dialed-in to their maximum rpm operating range for enhanced throttle response, optimized cruise fuel efficiency and top speed. The stainless steel prop features the Mercury patented Performance Vent System® (PVS). PVS® enables the user to fine-tune the amount of venting needed for quick planing. MSRP is $2048.61.
Come See for a FREE Tee!
We are so pumped about the new prop that we even had a custom promotional T-shirt made. We got a bit carried away with that and well – have a few to give away. Quantities are limited. The MAX5 Satisfy Your Drivepromotion begins at 2 p.m. Stop by the Mercury Racing Experience truck for details.
Steel Wheels Tour 2016
Desert Storm is the opening stop on our 2016 Mercury Racing Experience truck tour. The truck interior got a complete makeover during the long Wisconsin winter. We’re excited to have you stop by and check it out. We have additional display updates in the works. It will be a show stopper for sure!:)
See you in the Desert. We’ll leave the lights on! 🙂
This will be a Key West to remember. We just revealed our all-new ROS (Race Offshore) competition outboard, the new boss of the XCAT World Series. The engine is on display for all to see on the Mercury Racing truck in the Poker Run Village.
A sinister relative to the highly successful Verado 400R outboard, the potent 4-stroke racer makes its competition debut next weekend at the Dubai Grand Prix, round five of the 2015 XCAT World Series in Dubai, UAE. XCAT has partnered with Mercury Racing in the development of the engine that will replace the existing fleet of Mercury Racing 2-stroke 2.5L EFI race outboards.
Ronan Morgan, CEO of World Professional Powerboating Association (WPPA) said, “All those involved in the XCAT World Series are looking forward to the introduction of the new Mercury four stroke engines. “Not only are these environmentally friendly, they are reliable and provide a huge increase to the horsepower and torque which are essential for an action packed weekend of racing.”
“As promoters of XCAT Racing, the WPPA have had a long-standing relationship with Mercury Racing. We’ve worked closely together in the testing and development of the engine to provide the ultimate in performance and fan experience,” Mr. Morgan Added.
Mercury Racing General Manager Erik Christiansen said, “We are very excited to launch our new Race Offshore competition outboard. The venerable 2.5 EFI 2-stroke Mercury’s have been a mainstay for many years and is still a solid product. The ROS builds on that foundation while using the four stroke technology today’s market demands.”
“We worked with the WPPA to develop a strong, reliable engine that meets the new U.A.E. exhaust emissions requirements. The ROS will be homologated into the Union Internationale Motonautique technical specifications for XCAT. Next season will be a transitional year with the entire XCAT field switching to the ROS four strokes for 2017. I’m looking forward to seeing our new engine compete next weekend in Dubai,” Erik said.
The ROS features the 400R powerhead mounted on an all-new race midsection featuring the competition proven Mercury Racing heavy duty swivel clamp bracket assembly. A Sport Master gearcase transfers the ROS’s massive power to the water. And to ensure every revolution counts, we’ve developed an all-new line of CNC cleaver props specifically for the ROS.
The new XCAT ROS outboards will power the #3 X Dubai boat piloted by Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Heindi. The race will be streamed live via the XCAT World Series website.
Short in Stature – Big in Performance
By appearance alone – it is obvious this isn’t a production Verado. In fact – the similarities end at the powerhead. The AMS midsection is replaced with a billet aluminum housing. Mercury Racing developed the new midsection to lower the overall engine center of gravity. The 10-inch mid, coupled with the heavy-duty swivel clamp bracket assembly, brings the overall engine mounting height to 15 inches – matching the current 2.5 EFI configurations. The low CG, combined with solid upper and lower engine mounts, is critical for overall handling at competition speeds – particularly when powering the high perf XCAT catamarans into and out of corners.
The ROS also utilizes a remote dry sump system which holds 8L of Mercury Racing Four Stroke Oil, the same semi-synthetic 25W-50 oil used to lubricate and ensure long life in the high output QC4v sterndrive product line. A carbon fiber lower cowl conceals the transition of powerhead to midsection. The lower front cowl features dual rigging tubes, one each for fuel and electrical systems. To assist in the repower of the fleet, the ROS uses the same high pressure fuel pump, also mounted in the boat, as the existing 2-strokes.
Zero Effort Controls with Digital Trim
The ROS brings XCAT into the digital age with Mercury Digital Throttle & Shift (DTS). DTS replaces traditional throttle and shift cables with digital precision, resulting in smoother shifting and instant throttle response. Mercury Racing’s ergonomic, high-style Zero Effort® Digital controls precisely signal driver intent to the DTS equipped Mercury Racing ROS outboards. An integral power trim switch in the throttle handle provides fingertip trim control. The DTS system also features one-touch Smart Start and automatic throttle synchronization.
The Mercury Racing ROS features the XCAT World Series logo and color matched orange accent graphics. The custom graphics package is featured as a tribute to the series’ exclusivity in Mercury Racing power and their support in product development.
With the ROS comes a new line of five and six blade CNC Cleaver propellers. The Lab Finished props, featuring a high performance over the hub exhaust design, were developed specifically for surface piercing applications such as those endured in the rigors of offshore powerboat racing.
The props are rated for 400 h.p. and are available with blade rake angles of 13, 15, 18 or 21 degrees. A variety of pitch sizes are available to dial-in each hull for maximum efficiency and performance.
I can’t wait to see the new engines compete next weekend in Dubai. I expect them to make a statement – both on and off the race course!