Racing action at the 33rd Annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival is slated for July 1-2 just off Lido Beach in Sarasota, Florida. The Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix includes three different platforms of marine motor sports: P1 SuperStock and P1 AquaX, as well as the larger Offshore Powerboats.
“This event is one of the most highly attended powerboat races in the world, and this has elevated the level of racing, participation and sponsorships,” says Azam Rangoonwala, the director of Powerboat P1.
Changes and new events this year include a Grand Prix Comedy Night at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, a venue change for the Festival Kickoff Party to Michael’s on the Bay at Selby Gardens, and a Grand Prix Fan Fest on July 1 and 2 in the Van Wezel parking lot. The Fan Fest is free to the public and will feature large interactive displays from sponsors; a large tent where guests can watch the boats launch and watch the races live; music, food and plenty of vendors; and a chance to meet the teams up close in the dry pit area.
“This year there are no competing races on the calendar near the festival, resulting in an increase of large powerboats expected to compete,” says Lucy Nicandri, executive director for Suncoast Charities for Children. “The number of boats preregistered to compete in the 750 Super Cat Class alone has significantly increased, which should heat up the competition out on the water for race fans. The spectator line for boaters has also been moved closer for better viewing.”
Sarasota County and Visit Sarasota County are presenting sponsors for this year’s festival. Major sponsors include Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, FCCI Insurance Group, Sarasota Ford, Ocean Properties, and Hyatt Regency Sarasota.
Suncoast Charities for Children produces the entire festival, including the July 4 Bayfront Fireworks. Net proceeds raised from this event enable Suncoast Charities for Children to provide an annual grant to the Suncoast Foundation. The Suncoast Foundation then invests support toward five area nonprofit agencies in the community that combined serve over 8,000 clients with special needs (Loveland Village, Sarasota County Special Olympics, Children First, the Haven, and Florida Center for Early Childhood). Suncoast Charities for Children is also the official charity partner for Powerboat P1 USA, the official sanctioning organization for the Grand Prix Race.
For info and to purchase VIP race-viewing tickets, visit: sarasotapowerboatgrandprix.org
Watch the AquaX races livestream on: facebook.com/p1aquax
Watch the Powerboat races livestream on: facebook.com/p1SuperStock
Catch all the race highlights from Sarasota in late July/early August on: Fox Sports Florida (Air Schedule TBA)