The Miss Geico powerboat team made a few engineering changes for 2016 that focused on consistency and reliability, and part of the that strategy included hooking up with Jon Kaase Racing Engines to help maintain a fleet of six 9.0-liter, 1,650-horsepower Mercury Racing engines. (You can read more about this engine family here.)
“They’re in a very harsh environment. The prop comes out of the water a lot, so the engines are loaded and unloaded,” says Kaase, adding that his responsibility is massaging the engines to take away the aches and pains so they can keep running. “It’s not at the point that they’re out of the power. Anything that makes more power could hurt reliability.”
According to a news release early in the season, the team had regressed from winning multiple world championships in the Super Boat International and Offshore Powerboat Association circuits only to struggle in finishing races in 2015. So, a “fresh engineering crew” was brought on board.
“Last year we had issues that were plain to see,” said crew chief Gary Stray in the news release.
Miss Geico is a 50-foot Victory catamaran made of carbon fiber, Kevlar and S-glass and is capable of 200 mph or faster with the twin Mercury engines and BPM drives.
Kaase will continue to look for reliable power upgrades, and showed off one of the engines with a different set of headers than what the factory offers and a new Wilson manifold that featured twin intercoolers.
“Keith Wilson made the manifold for the Geico team. It’s a different style manifold,” says Kaase. “We’ve run it only one race.”