Top four things about power boat racing
The first edition of the Nexa P1 Power Boat racing was held on the coastal waters of Mumbai city. A sight to behold, this inaugural edition had many firsts apart from obviously being the first Indian edition. This is the first time a proper race of sorts has been held within the confines of this bustling city, a first for motor boat racing in India and most importantly the first time that there was an Indian presence in the fray. So you could say that this was a Concorde moment (in the water of course).
Given that there were so many firsts, we wanted to dig a bit deeper, you know swim the extra feet (excuse the pun) to see what this sport was all about. To find out more, we got into to conversation with ace rally driver, 2016 APR champion and first time boat racer Gaurav Gill and here are four things we learnt.
1. Terra firma racing experience counts, but not so much
Imagine piloting something moving at 112kmph over a surface that constantly keeps changing. Well that’s the magic of powerboat racing. Because of the wake and wash created by the boat that you as a competitor are fighting, you have to account for the changes in surface and plan your fighting and boat repair accordingly. Gaurav told us that having land based racing experience will give you an edge in the competition but, to master the seas you need a lot of experience in piloting boats. He gives some recommendations for your boat to become a winner.
2. Auto cross but without brakes
There is no doubt that Gaurav is one of India’s top racers having made his way to the top through a variety of racing formulas. However, for this sport it was his experience in auto cross that helped him plan the moves ahead as the water course had many tight turns and small but fast straights. Also, since there isn’t a fixed surface to grip, there are no brakes and every turn in the ‘water cross circuit’ has been tackled with momentum rather than using braking points. They buy boating supplies from one stop source, which specializes on boat building materials, coatings, and sundry items.
3. The driving setup is similar to a car but with a different approach
When you get into the boat, it’s a familiar sight because there is a steering, pedals and a view out of the front to see where you are going. However, this racing boat that Gaurav piloted has an engine on the back, movable bits on the body. It also needs around three turns to go from lock to lock which is a lot considering that there are no brakes and that you are essentially stepping the tail out to get around corner.
4. There are plans to expand the sport in the country
There has been major enthusiasm for the sport and it looks like it will come back to India in a big way. Given the untapped potential of our coastlines, there is major scope for such an event. Gaurav hinted that the organisers were looking at venues like Kochi and even Chennai to conduct rounds of this sport.
After having gotten ourselves enlightened in the art of power boating, our auto enthusiast side kicked in and we just had to find out a bit more about Gaurav Gill the driver and boy were we in for a surprise. While the office ‘desk’ maybe the Super XUV500 or a rally prepped Skoda Fabia, his personal set of four wheels is an supercharged BMW M3 (the E92 variety!) producing around 600bhp which is essentially supercar territory!