The 2019 NGK Spark Plugs Formula One Powerboat Championship Racing Series
By Valerie Collins
The NGK Spark Plugs F1 Powerboat Championship racing series, showcasing the stars of the powerboat racing world, primes for its third consecutive year of world class boat racing in 2019. This outboard series features the always-magnificent Formula 1 class, along with the speedy F-Light tunnels, thunderous Tri Hulls and the younger pilots of J-Hydro.
NGK F1 PC will soon be bringing its action-packed program to seven events in five different states, including four sites that are new to the series. The kick-off event will be at a brand-new location in Baytown, TX on April 7, 2019. Toledo, OH, Bay City, MI and Windsor, CO are the other new sites added for 2019.
In late June, F1 boat racing will return to the Toledo, OH riverfront after a hiatus of over 30 years. Perennial favorite, Bay City, MI, which has been a hotbed of powerboat racing for decades, returns in 2019 with F1, F-Light, Tri-Hull and J-Hydro as the newly dubbed “Rockin the River”. Windsor, CO, another site from boat racing history, has been resurrected by NGK F1 for 2019 as well, and will also feature the four NGK F1 classes.
Adding to the prestige of the NGK F1 Powerboat Championship Series is the announcement that the American Powerboat Association (APBA) has awarded the 2019 APBA National Championships to NGK F1 for the classes F1, SST-45 (F-Lights), and Tri-Hull. The National Championships will be held at the Windsor, Colorado NGK F1 event on Aug 31-Sep 1.
APBA has also granted “Major Series Status” to NGK F1 for the SST45/F-Lights class in 2019. This Series recognition, along with the APBA National Championships, will give our participants an added opportunity to earn APBA points toward the esteemed APBA Hall of Champions (HOC).
Major Series: Champion earns 3 points towards the APBA HOC.
National Championship: Winner earns 2 points towards the APBA HOC.
North American Championship: Winner earns 3 points towards the APBA HOC.
At press time, an application was pending for NGK F1 APBA Regional Championships for both Pittsburgh and Port Neches, where the winner could earn one-half point toward the APBA HOC.
The full season schedule is as follows:
Apr 7: Baytown, TX - F1, F-Light, Tri Hull, J-Hydro
NOTE: F1 and F-Light will run at Baytown, TX as non-Series classes
May 3-5: Port Neches, TX - F1, F-Light, Tri Hull, J-Hydro
Jun 28-29: Toledo, OH - F1
Jul 12-14: Bay City, MI - F1, F-Light, Tri Hull, J-Hydro
Aug 2-4: Pittsburgh, PA - F1, F-Light
Aug 9-11: Springfield, OH - F1, F-Light, J-Hydro
Aug 31-Sep 1: Windsor, CO - F1, F-Light, Tri Hull, J-Hydro
2018 saw some of the most intense racing competition in the sport’s history, producing five different F1 winners in six events. This phenomenal show of racing action helped spark a wave of new driver enthusiasm, encouraging nine new F1 pilots to join NGK F1 in 2019 who form a mix of new boat racers and established boat racers stepping up from supporting classes.
Some of these new drivers coming up from F-Light class are names that have been on the podium in the past, including 2018 F-Light champion, #8 Jeremiah Mayo, who earned a spot on the NGK podium in four out of six F-Light races last season and stood on the podium twice in Tri-Hull.
In addition to those drivers coming up from the F-Lights class, we will see multi-APBA National Champion, #93 RJ West of “Chuck Skelton Racing” from California, competing in a brand new Composite Craft F1 hull that he designed and built himself. Texan, Austin Cheatham #40, the 2017 F-Light Rookie of the Year, has graduated out of his F-Light ride and will be running an F1 Grand Prix hull in 2019. Former Tri-Hull racer, #52 Chris Rinker, who won two events last season, will be joining the F1 ranks in 2019, where he will team up with his cousin, 2018 F1 Series Champion, Florida’s #20 Ashton Rinker and Crew Chief, James Chambers.
Other drivers who are slated to be joining the 2019 series are Tennesseans #17 Dylan Anderson, son of returning F1 racer #94 Ray Anderson -- both to be powered by Yamaha outboard engines -- as well as drivers Jeff Ettinger, Eric Talochino, Mike Quindazzi and Jude Gaspard -- a long-time crew member for the F1 2018 runner-up, #2 Tracy Hawkins. Watch for Hawkins to be red hot in 2019, as he will be debuting the boat he’s been working on all winter, in a hunt for a championship that narrowly slipped by him in 2018.
As the NGK Spark Plugs F1 Powerboat Championship prepares for its third season of highly competitive powerboat racing, the drivers and teams are busy at their race shops, eager to return to the water to entertain the fans.
Several teams have been adding new boats to their stables. California’s #24 Spencer Love is expected to debut the latest carbon fiber design from Hoffman Composite Race Boats -- a boat builder who is back after being out of the sport for over a decade. #57 David McMurray of TN will be revealing his brand new race craft; a sleek, patriotic-themed carbon fiber Seebold hull.
Series Manager, Tim Seebold, is looking forward to another great season in 2019. "The Series is very excited to put on a show at four brand new venues as well as our three very popular existing sites, where we will deliver our heart-pounding program to the fans who enjoy the adrenaline-charged action that NGK F1 racing brings."
Greenlight TV will film the NGK Spark Plugs F1 Powerboat Championship racing action all season long, producing a 30-minute show of each event to air on CBS Sports Network. You can also watch the shows on Motor Trend On Demand for a minimal fee. In 2018, CBS Sports Network television coverage reached 2.7 billion households with 45 airings of the 6 episodes (a 225% increase over 2017, and a 420% increase worldwide to 9 billion households). To view the shows on-demand, visit: https://www.motortrendondemand.com/show/us-f1-powerboats-championship-/73231972/.
Live-Streamed racing action will be again produced by Greenlight TV to air on the NGK Series and NGK’s facebook pages. https://www.facebook.com/NGKF1PowerboatChampionship. Find additional information on the NGK Spark Plugs Powerboat Championship on our website, www.ngkf1.com.
The NGK Spark Plugs Formula 1 Powerboat Championship is ecstatic to have the strong commitment of title sponsor, NGK Spark Plugs - The Ignition Specialist. Since 1936, NGK Spark Plugs has been the world leader in technology, innovation, and world-class quality in the design of spark plugs and oxygen sensors. Today, NGK manufactures NGK Spark Plugs and NTK Oxygen Sensors for virtually every automotive manufacturer in the world.
NGK has built a reputation for quality and reliability, and a commitment to excellence continues to be the driving force behind the company’s advanced research and development programs. In North America, NGK is headquartered in Wixom, MI and maintains manufacturing, inventory, and distribution facilities in Irvine, CA, Sissonville, WV, and Chicago, IL.
Get more information on the exciting NGK Spark Plugs F1 Powerboat Championship by visiting www.ngkf1.com, or follow NGK F1 Powerboat Championship on Facebook.