A wild powerboat Grand Prix roars into Tampa Bay this September

a series of slender powerboats making large wakes in the water.

The Firestone Grand Prix in St. Petersburg is a magical spectacle of engineering, physics, reflexes, and speed. The area also hosts a historic regatta from its downtown Yacht Club. Next up: a powerboat Grand Prix. That’s right, some of the fastest, sleekest vessels on the planet will race around the waters just outside the St. Pete Pier from September 2 to September 4.

P1 Offshore officials made the following announcement on Facebook: “The 2nd annual St Petersburg Powerboat Grand Prix is returning to the St Petersburg Pier. Come watch the adrenaline pumping action as Competitors from across the USA and from all over the world, compete for the top spot in the APBA National Championships!!” 

There’s ample parking at the St. Pete Pier, and tons of street spots in downtown St. Pete, in addition to a parking garage not far from Beach Drive.


The top boaters from across the globe will convene in Tampa Bay

Powerboat and personal watercraft race teams from across the United States will compete across multiple classes of racing during the race weekend. While the race is best viewed live along the course near downtown St. Petersburg and the pier, the high-speed racing action will also be broadcast nationally. Fans outside of the U.S. will be able to enjoy the racing via live streaming on the P1 Offshore website. Teams from across the U.S. will compete in high-speed races during the two-day series. 

You can learn more about the event by visiting its official website

This revelatory sport originated at the start of the last century, with a cross-Channel race in 1904 being followed by the formation of the American Power Boat Association (APBA) and the first US recorded race in 1911 in California. It increased in popularity in the United States over the next few years but its growth in Europe was disrupted by World War 1. 


The beginning of powerboat racing

The 1908 London Summer Olympics is famous for hosting the first and only powerboat racing events in Olympic history.

Over the period 1927-35 there was a huge interest in racing in Europe both on the sea and on freshwater rivers and likes. The sport entered the modern era in the 1960s and then in the 1980s came the catamaran and “superboat” era, with the different categories of boats multiplying far beyond the four classes that were common in the 1960s and 70s. For the first time in 30 years, offshore racing in the United States is now under one sanctioning body — APBA.

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