Go-Fast Blast From the Past: USA Racing Team

Quad outboards challenge the Unlimited status quo.

Go-Fast Blast From the Past: USA Racing TeamUSA Racing Team

A rig of four big outboards is a common sight today but caused a sensation in 1983 when Don Aronow and Gary Garbrecht brought their USA Racing Team tunnel boat to the 1983 Unlimited Hydroplane World Championships on Clear Lake near Houston. The 30-foot boat was the first to apply tunnel-boat design to a hydroplane-scale hull, and the original hull, which was designed by Garbrecht, debuted in 1980 and reportedly weighed just 1,000 pounds. That boat was powered by a pair of Cosworth Indy car engines. In 1991, the New York Times reported on the continued effort of Aronow and Garbrecht to challenge the Unlimited status quo, with the boat now powered by a pair of 402 cid, 1,170 hp supercharged Keith Black Chrysler Hemi V-8 engines and MerCruiser sterndrives. The boat could hit 180 mph on the straights but bogged in corners. For 1983, the boat was reworked to accept four of the 450 hp Johnson V-8 racing outboards and entered as U-19 Don Aronow and Gary Garbrecht's USA Racing Team. With tunnel-boat champion Jimbo McConnell in the cockpit, the boat placed second at the UIM World Championship at Houston to Milner Irvin in Miss Renault, a traditional hydro powered by a supercharged Allison engine. Of 18 boats entered, only three finished the final. The tunnel hull aired out beautifully and could hug the corners. See it in action in this video of the Houston UIM Heat, where McConnell won his first heat in U-19.