Last week, former British powerboat Champion Richard Carr announced his support of Steve Curtis’ (picture above far right) proposed Offshore Powerboat Grand Prix (OPGP) – and now the Championship has officially been unveiled.
Qatar on the powerboat map
During its first season as a powerboat series, the OPGP will team up with the Qatar Marine Sports Federation to jointly promote the brand new Qatar Cup.
Sheikh Hasson bin Jabor Al-Thani and Steve Curtis, who broke the powerboat speed record, are the people behind the new series and Curtis, who will act as interim president of the OPGP, confirmed that the Qatar Cup will feature exciting classes for Super Cat, Super Vee Light, Super Vees and a new handicap racing-type format.
The four day festival will take place in early February, 2015 in Doha Bay, with boats being shipped out from the USA on December 8th. Boats are also expected to compete from New Zealand and Australia.
Handicap grid system
OPGP interim President Curtis also talked about another boat class and the possibility of having all the boats on the course at the same time: “We also have the Cat Lights coming. These are very similar to XCats – where we hope to have 8 to 10 boats competing.
“Mohammed Al-Nasser (Qatar’s XCat driver) has also been invited, but the engine rules are slightly different so he will need to do some work with his engines.
“Super Cats, with around 800hp, is the main class we are bringing over, but we also have the V hulls and we will try a new handicap system that is used in sailing to have all the boats on the course at the same time.
“This has never been done before. Basically there will be two laps on the course – the fastest boats may do 10 of the longer laps and the smaller boats may do 10 of the shorter ones. A handicap will be determined to put the racing on a level playing field and they will use the same chequered flag.
“This format was used before in a series called Offshore 2000 in the 1990s and was very successful.”
Richard Carr excited by the future
As previously stated, Richard believes that the OPGP is excellent news for the sport and would one day love to compete in the series.
He believes the formation of the series was very timely and at a point when powerboating was beginning to see a decline. He believes Steve Curtis’ new venture has the potential to reinvigorate the sport.
About Richard Carr
Richard Carr is one of the UK’s most experienced and successful powerboat racers, who has competed in the sport globally.
He has won numerous domestic and international honours: he became British Class 1 Champion in 1991; he was the winner of the coveted Needles Trophy and he also came second in the Cowes Torquay Cowes race in 1992. It was the year the race was controversially competed in the fog and it has been argued for many years that he actually won the race.
He is known in the sport for his aggressive racing character in rough seas and recently raced in the USA for Geico in 2011.