ST. PETE BEACH — The third annual powerboat and personal watercraft racing event in the city set for June 15-16 is touting a new name and location.
Now called 3 Daughters Brewing Race the Gulf, the event will be held along the shores of Pass-a-Grille Beach with the Don Cesar Resort Hotel as the center point for viewing.
AquaX jet skis and SuperStock race boats will compete during two days of racing on Saturday and Sunday. The race weekend activities begin at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday with SuperStock practice and will continue with various races throughout the day. The final races of the weekend will start on Sunday beginning at 11 a.m.
More than 80 P1AquaX personal watercraft riders from up to 10 countries are expected to compete, and the one-design P1 SuperStock racing will feature the new P1 Panther race boats with enclosed cockpits and 300R Mercury Racing motors. Both the personal watercraft racers and powerboats will reach speeds exceeding 80 mph, the P1 website said.
Spectators can watch the racing for free, and VIP tickets are available for $100 a person per day. The passes include seasonal lunch buffet, standard open bar, VIP beachfront lounge, daybed seating with prime views of races, towel and sunscreen service, access to beach games, and a meet-and-greet with racers.
The event is presented by Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater.
“It’s one of our premier locations as far as events go. It has been steadily increasing over the years. It’s still in its infancy, though,” said Michelle Petro, a spokeswoman for Powerboat P1, which calls itself the fastest growing motorsport series in the world.
Petro added that racing activities were moved to the Don CeSar because the event is growing and the resort provides additional space for the races and spectators. The event had been held farther north, in front of the Postcard Inn.
“We basically outgrew the other location where we were,” Petro said.
Parking is not included and availability is limited. Shared rides, Lyft/Uber, and public transportation is encouraged because event parking will not be available onsite.
Each team in the P1 series races the same boat, same engine, and same propeller. The sport focuses on the skill and expertise of the driver and navigator, a press release said.
The principal sponsor of the event is 3 Daughters Brewing of St. Petersburg. The craft brewery will have a live feed throughout the event, Petro said. Food and entertainment will be available.
“Partnerships are at the heart of our business and we are delighted that the new Race the Gulf event will bring together one of the fastest growing regional breweries in Florida, the legendary Don CeSar and Visit St. Pete/Clearwater to serve up a weekend of outstanding sport and entertainment,” said P1 chief executive Azam Rangoonwala on the racing series’ website. “Our aim is always to raise the profile of the host venue, attract visitors and boost the local economy.”
Powerboat P1 says it has a long-term commitment to growing and developing the sport of power boating at all levels.