ABU DHABI - (Monday, August 25) - In what many people in the sport of powerboat racing saw as a "noble experiment" at the final race of the 2011 campaign in the United Arab Emirates, the Caudwell Marine Race Team from South Africa has once again set out to challenge the established way to race in the UIM F1 H2O World Championship tour with their own highly modified engine and drive combination.
The race team, headquartered in Cape Town, arrives once again to the world's most challenging race tour for Round Two of 2014 in Liuzhou, China on the fourth thru the sixth of October with a completely revised drive design and lightened boat for it's latest challenge.
Not being satisfied after moderate success in 2013, although being the only four-stroke powered team in the history of the UIM F1 series to gain a championship point, huge amounts of engineering work had to be done to make the team more competitive and prove to the world that a relatively in expensive and reliable four-stroke solution is viable and can ultimately win races.
Big changes have been made to the unique AXIS drive/engine combination and almost 55KG has been removed and reliability improved through simplification of design and engineering.
The new lightweight propulsion system uses the same 3.5 litre Infiniti based aluminum block with special crankshaft, pistons and rods being supplied by Cosworth. The engine is now mounted like an outboard, except at a 45 degree angle and is attached via the sump to a jack plate that can move in the vertical plane by 40mm while still allowing the full trim up and trim down range.
The engine is fixed directly to the lower unit that uses the standard cable and power assisted steering.
A further 53KG has been removed through modifications to the Caudwell Racing built F1 H2O boat totaling almost 108KG of weight saving.
The proof of success was when current veteran Caudwell Racing and test/development driver Ivan Brigada put the new rig through its paces on a private lake near the team's headquarters in Cape Town, South Africa earlier this year.
"The new rig is a giant leap forward in the teams ongoing development," said the Italian. "Handling and acceleration are much improved as is our top speed. On balance we are about 20KPH (37MPH) faster on an average lap from a year go due to the improvements. We are hoping to gain more points this season with these new parameters in place."
"The boat turns incredibly better due to the AXIS drive geometry and I have done turns up to 6.5 g with no problem."
While the boats are on the water en-route in China, development back home continues.
A new slim line lower unit is currently under development and further performance upgrades will be embodied as the season progresses.
Caudwell Racing is the only team that designs and builds its own boats and propulsion systems and remains committed to the sport and will continue to use it as a development and testing ground for its mainstream AXIS drive products.
For Ivan, the 34 year-old driver from Mede, Italy, he owns a victory at the 2006 Grand Prix of Qatar while earning two top-five finishes in his 23 career race starts. A season ago, he had a team best 10th place result in Abu Dhabi while failing to finish two other times in his three Grand Prix races in 2013.
Joining Ivan as his teammate this season will be young Slovakian driver Tomas Cermak.
Tomas returns to the tour for the first time since the 2010. His first appearance in F1 was in Doha in 2009 where he qualified a solid 11th on the grid only failing to take the start of the race. He returned in 2010 running all the Grand Prix events except for the opening round that season in Portimao, Portugal. In 11 official race starts, Cermak has a career best 10th place finish in Abu Dhabi after qualifying 17th. He finished tied for 17th in the championship that season with one championship point. He's hoping for better results this season with this fairly new rising organization.
The second round of the 2014 UIM F1 H2O World Championship will be held on the fifth and sixth of October alongside the Liu River at the 20th Anniversary year of holding the Grand Prix of China. All the complete qualifying and Grand Prix action can be followed "live" via the tours official television worldwide feed at the tours website: www.f1h2o.com.
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