PRI 2016: Jon Kaase Shows Off 1,650-HP Boat Engine

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.”

Closeup views of the Wilson intake manifold and new exhaust system on the 9.0-liter Mercury Racing twin-turbo V8 that is rated at 1,650 horsepower from the factory.

Miss Geico in action. The 50-foot catamaran is powered by twin Mercury Racing V8 engines.

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.”

Kaase also brought one of his bread ‘n butter engines, the well-known Boss Nine.

About the author

Mike Magda

Mike Magda is a veteran automotive writer with credits in publications such as Racecar Engineering, Hot Rod, Engine Technology International, Motor Trend, Automobile, Automotive Testing Technology and Professional Motorsport World.
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