It’s the ultimate adrenaline rush and regarded as one of the most spectacular and exciting sports in the world. Tension builds as boats wait in silence at the starting dock. With the flash of the start light, engines ignite in an explosion of power and boats race screaming for the first turn, props launching a high rooster tail of wake. Hurtling over the water in lightweight composite tunnel boats, drivers endure brain-numbing G-Forces while they dice deck-to-deck, peering through a small windscreen, in zero visibility.
This is the apex of inshore circuit powerboat racing – 140 mph down the straights, 90 mph through hairpin turns. Winning requires advanced design and technology, tremendous skill, and real courage. The UIM F1H2O World Championship attracts up to 20 of the world's leading drivers competing in Formula One tunnel-hull catamarans, running Wide Open with Mercury Racing outboard power. Over the last 35 years the sport has played out 279 Grand Prix in 32 countries across five continents, 14 drivers have captured the World title, 47 becoming members of the illustrious Grand Prix winners club.
While today's F1H2O tunnel boats are designed with driver protection top of mind. Early Formula One boats were constructed from thin plywood, with the driver sitting in an open cockpit. Today the boats are constructed from strong composites, and the driver is protected by a canopy over the cockpit and a rugged safety capsule within the boat. An airbag will inflate automatically to keep the driver capsule buoyant in the case of a crash.
The Mercury Racing 360 APX outboard is the first model in a new Mercury Racing Apex Series of outboards designed for closed-course competition. Based on a modified version of the Mercury Racing 300R 4.6-liter V8, this new competition outboard combines a highly durable, low-emissions four-stroke powerhead with amazing torque and power output. It also significantly reduces rebuild frequency and overall maintenance versus the two-stroke outboard currently in use in the F1H2O World Championship.