Powerboat P1 has announced its P1 Offshore race calendar for the 2024 season, which sees the series heading to Wisconsin again and returning to favorite venues in Florida. The Sarasota and St. Petersburg Grand Prix events on Florida’s Gulf Coast move away from their traditional dates around the Independence Day and Labor Day vacations respectively, and should provide an exhilarating climax to the season in September and October.
Cocoa Beach on the Space Coast will again host the season opener in mid-May with a weekend of fast boats and cold drinks. Thunder On Cocoa Beach will be celebrating its 15th anniversary of staging this event and its Executive Director, Kerry Bartlett, will be unveiling special plans to mark this milestone.
In August, racing will return to Sheboygan on the western shore of Lake Michigan for a second year. Sheboygan Area Tourism Zone reported that last season’s inaugural Mercury Racing Midwest Challenge delivered an economic impact of $4.7 million with more than 40,000 attending the three-day festival, and this year’s event in August will be open to all offshore classes. Mayor Ryan Sorenson said: “I am thrilled to welcome back this exhilarating event to the Malibu of the Midwest. It not only showcases our City’s stunning waterfront but also brings together the community in celebration of speed, skill and the thrill of competition. This sense of excitement and unity contributes to the vibrancy of Sheboygan.” City Administrator Casey Bradley added: “This event not only brings a surge of energy to our City but also underscores our commitment to hosting world class events. We appreciate the partnership with Powerboat P1 and Mercury Racing, and we eagerly anticipate the positive impact the race event will have on our local economy and community spirit.”
Another event milestone will be celebrated in September with the 40th anniversary of the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix, making it the second longest-running powerboat festival in the United States. For decades the racing has been a unique, prestigious event that brings significant value to the county. Local media reports that it generates millions of dollars in economic impact every year with up to 16,000 room nights, and P1’s national and international television deals showcase the city’s many attractions to an audience of more than 200 million homes. Pete Harvey, Director of Sports at Visit Sarasota County commented: “The Grand Prix draws enthusiastic crowds, capturing the attention of visitors and residents alike. It attracts a diverse range of attendees which generates a sizeable surge in tourism and spending.”
The season finale will see the race teams head along the Gulf Coast to St. Petersburg for the Monster Energy St. Pete Grand Prix. Now in its fourth year, the event has quickly become a favorite venue will the racers and it will see the APBA national champions crowned in October. “We’re excited to see one of America’s best waterfront locations selected to host the Powerboat P1 grand prix event,” said Visit St. Pete/Clearwater President/CEO Brian Lowack. “We love the opportunity to show off the spectacular downtown St. Pete waterfront and award-winning St. Pete Pier as spectators come from near and far to our beautiful destination or tune in on TV around the globe to see some of the most exciting action on water.”
Dave Gowland of Monster Energy said: “We love all forms of racing at Monster Energy and entering the UIM Class 1 World Championship and APBA National Championship, as well as the P1 AquaX National Championship, in 2023 genuinely thrilled us with the sport’s amazing and vibrant mix of racing, competition and amazing fan attention, interaction and enthusiasm. We’re thrilled to title sponsor the final round of the national championship.”
Seven teams are expected to compete in this season’s UIM Class 1 World Championship and races will be staged at the P1 Offshore events. Powerboat P1’s aim is to attract more teams and build the worldwide television audience to return Class 1 to the summit of the sport. “Our goal is to have a fleet of 12 boats by 2025” said P1 CEO Azam Rangoonwala. “We want to grow the world championship commercially and promote the series both in the United States and internationally to deliver enhanced value for race teams, host venues, sponsors and partners.”
“The 2023 offshore season was one of great change and growth” explains Rangoonwala. “This season we will seek further growth by focusing on attracting more competitors, particularly young racers, improving the fan experience, continuing to build our social media audience and broadening the international reach of our TV broadcast deals. Having celebrated our 20th anniversary last year, Powerboat P1 is embarking on its third decade as a promoter and we will continue to design our race events to encourage tourism and enhance the profile of the host venues. Partnerships are at the heart of our business and over the coming months we will be announcing new agreements as well as the renewal of existing sponsorships.”
P1 Offshore events & UIM Class 1 racing
Cocoa Beach, FL—May 17-19
Sheboygan, WI—Aug. 9-11
Sarasota, FL—Sept. 13-15
St. Petersburg, FL—Oct. 18-20