ABU DHABI - Tuesday, 24 September, 2013 - The upcoming 19th Grand Prix of China from the captivating city of Liuzhou in Southeast China will not only mark the halfway point of the 2013 UIM F1 H2O World Championship but will be a crossroads for the four decade old series marking its 250th Grand Prix since it's beginnings back in 1981.
In that time frame, the series has watched 32 different nations from five different continents host an event with a total of 189 drivers competing in the championship from 37 different countries of which 12 of these drivers were skillful enough to have earned the title "World Champion."
Who has made the most impact during these 30 years of racing history? It's hard to say. That's not an easy answer.
However, the names of legends in the sport such as; drivers: Renato Molinari, Bill Seebold, Cees Van der Velden and Scott Gillman along with, builders and promoters: Fred Hauenstein, Charlie Strang, David Parkinson and Siegfried "Ziggy" Boettle are all in the current Hall-Of-Fame and whom all can make their case.
However, the sports history goes much farther than that.
Powerboat racing dates back to 1903. The transition from flat bottom racers to V-bottom hulls eventually to catamarans in the sport, including F1, has grown tremendously since the 1960's.
Gone, are the days of six-hour endurance events in determining a champion. Along with that timeframe were the hidden and secretive testing waters situated in Florida and central Europe where engine, boat and driver were subjected to massive marathon testing that would run over 24 hours or whenever the equipment or humans would breakdown, whatever came first. These are also a thing of the past.
Gone also are the days of the giant V-8 power plants that had over 450 horsepower attached to what was then $20,000 engines back in the 1980's. The boats were longer, narrower with the majority of the courses set with long straight-aways for maximum speed and just two turns. Down and back that's how each team would attack. These were your Airbus 380's or Boeing 747's of their era, today they are like Eurofighter jets.
As were get ready to celebrate "250" on the Grand Prix race scale, today's boats are shorter, wider and lighter and are vastly safer made from carbon fiber rather than light weight and flexible woods from Africa that would splinter and break on impact. Now, after much scientific research, drivers are sitting in "safety cells" encapsulated and protected in case of misfortunes on the race circuits.
Four decades, it's a different era, a different sport this modern UIM F1 H2O World Championship for powerboating. But, the one constant that remains the same, the grit and determination of drivers who are scratching and clawing their way to the front of the grid in anyway attainable mission on their quest to become number one and a World Champion.
Racing isn't easy. If it was, not many people would be lining up to do it.
However to the 189 drivers from around the world who have dedicated themselves to the world's most challenging sport on water, the UIM F1 H2O World Championship, we salute you and the 32 countries that have staged Grand Prix events.
Let's hope the next 250 Grand Prix's are just as exciting and worthwhile as what the first four decades have truly brought!
The third round of the 2013 UIM F1 H2O World Championship will be held on the first and second of October alongside the Liu River at the 19th Grand Prix of China in Liuzhou. The event can be followed live via the tours official website at www.f1h2o.com. Pole qualifying on the first at 15:00 local 07:00 GMT and 03:00 EDT on the East Coast of North America and the Grand Prix on the second at 14:00 local, 06:00 GMT and 02:00 EDT can be watched live via streaming the official television "worldwide" feed on the website.
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