Mercury’s next generation OptiMax 200XS SST engine has made a stunning debut in Australia’s Formula Powerboat competition – known to fans as tunnel boat racing.
At the second round of the national competition, held on the Clarence River at Grafton, boats powered by the OptiMax 200XS SST finished second and third in the Formula One category even though they’re designed as Formula Two engines.
“The SST stands for Super Sport Tunnel and you can certainly tell why,” said Troy Wood, Team Manager of SeaQuest Performance/Trask Brothers Racing which entered three OptiMax 200XS SST-powered boats into the competition.
“These engines are fantastic, they are all about going fast and turning left,” Troy said.
“I think it’s a match made in heaven. Mercury’s OptiMax 200XS SST and SeaQuest Performance which is the only company in Australia building world class Formula Powerboats.”
“The engine has more than exceeded all of our expectations both in performance and reliability. They are smooth running with unbelievable fuel efficiency. We were all more than impressed.”
The three boats competed in Formula One instead of Formula Two due to a technicality.
“The OptiMax 200XS SST meets current world standard specifications for F2,” Troy said. “But Australia hasn’t adopted those specifications yet so the engines weren’t sanctioned and had to race F1.”
Of the three boats “Mercury OptiMax” driven by Michael Page finished second overall, just ahead of “My Home Now” with Grant Trask at the wheel. Michael and Grant are now fourth and fifth in the overall standings despite missing Round One.
Rookie pilot Daniel McMahon in “99 Psycho Clowns” secured a solid fifth place.
“The only man ahead of us on the water was Damien Mackenzie who’s taken out the national crown for the last two years and has 150 extra horses, so we’re very, very happy,” Troy said.
“The other great thing was the OptiMax’s ability to keep racing. Some other race engines really have to be treated with kid gloves – started, raced and put away – but we just kept going. We probably did three times as many laps as anyone else out there.”
“It’s fair to say we’ve shaken things up quite a bit with the OptiMax 200XS SST,” said Guy Williamson, Mercury’s Director of Service and Quality.
“Clearly we can match it with the best in F1 so think what’s going to happen in F2 when the engine is sanctioned.”