Final preparations are underway for Powerboat P1’s season-opener this weekend (May 18-21) at Cocoa Beach on Florida’s Space Coast, with a total of more than 60 boats expected to compete in the 16 race classes. It will be the second event of the five-venue 2023 APBA Offshore National Championship and the opening round of the UIM Class 1 World Championship.

It will be the 1ear of the four-day Thunder On Cocoa Beach event and the message from its Race Director, Kerry Bartlett, is clear and simple: “We’re ready! The team here is extremely excited to welcome race teams and fans from all over the world, and the shorter course with Saturday and Sunday racing will increase the excitement and entertainment for spectators.” Action on Saturday will feature Class 1 and Super Cat qualifying, to establish lane orders for the race start, together with Super Stock racing and several Bracket classes. Combine all that with testing and practice sessions, and what has traditionally been a quieter day during a race weekend becomes action-packed. Regarded as the pinnacle of offshore racing, Class 1 will be the highlight of Sunday afternoon as boats from three continents battle for the world title.

Celebrating its 2nniversary, Powerboat P1 will be handling the on-water operations and racing at Cocoa Beach for the fifth year and its Global Operations Director, Martin Raby explains: “With the dry pits, cranes and boat ramps more than five miles away at Port Canaveral, we need to ensure that all the boats are launched exactly on time. The full length of the offshore race course is 6.9 miles and, with their twin inboard 1100hp engines, the Class 1 boats will average 144 mph to complete a lap every 2.8 minutes. On the west side of the course, it runs parallel to the beach for 2.5 miles to give spectators a great view of the action.”

P1 USA Championship Manager Michelle Petro works closely with the United States Coast Guard months prior to the race weekend to obtain approval on the proposed race course and to laying a myriad of racing and exclusion zone buoys using a GPS system to ensure that any excluded areas on the sea bed due to flora and fauna or underground pipes and communication cables are avoided. Cocoa Beach and the entire Space Coast has been described as an eco-tourist’s dream come true, featuring sandy turtle nesting beaches, rich lagoon waters, dolphins, manatees, cranes, wading birds and alligators. “Within motorsport there is increasing sensitivity to the environment and Powerboat P1 has been committed to developing a corporate environmental policy and implementing effective programs as an integral part of its business strategy,” Petro said. “We will have a dedicated team of marine wildlife observers in place on the shore, on the water and in the air to spot and track wildlife in the extended race course area.”

The Florida holiday brochures point out that only on the Space Coast will you be able to experience a rocket launch up close, enjoy outstanding surfing in the Atlantic waves, embark on a cruise from bustling Port Canaveral and relax on uncrowded beaches. Cocoa Beach welcomes around 2.5 million visitors each year and this weekend there will be the added attraction of world class powerboat racing. Marine motorsport fans around the world will be able to watch all the action live streamed on the P1 Offshore YouTube page, and highlights will be broadcast nationally next month on the Bally Sports regional sports networks and CBS Sports Network. The potential reach of Powerboat P1’s worldwide television deals is more than 230 million homes in over 100 counties.