Oryx Cup gets official approval from UIM to host World Championship unlimited hydroplane race - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Oryx Cup gets official approval from UIM to host World Championship unlimited hydroplane race

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Text from Qatar Marine Sports Federation news release...


  • November's Unlimited hydroplane race format takes shape
  • Peters & May USA chosen as official transport agent for new Doha race

DOHA (Qatar):  The Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) has now gained official approval from the sport's governing body, the UIM, to host the final round of the ABRA Unlimited Hydroplane World Championship, which will now be known as the Oryx Cup - UIM World Championship.

The second race of its kind to take place outside the United States of America - a race was held in Acapulco in 1981 - will run from November 19th-21st in Doha and will be organised jointly by the QMSF, under the presidency of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, and the American Boat Racing Association (ABRA).

Three titles - the Oryx Cup UIM World Championship, the Series Champion Team and the Series Champion Driver - will be up for grabs at what promises to be a thrilling race weekend in Qatar.

"We are honoured to be able to contest the UIM World Championship in Doha at the Oryx Cup," said ABRA chairman Sam Cole. "This adds prestige to what already promises to be a world class event. Our teams are preparing, the drivers are excited and we cannot wait to race on Doha Bay. It will be spectacular.

"Sheikh Hassan recognises the significance of this event in international powerboat racing. We look forward to introducing the world to Unlimited Hydroplane Racing. These boats are amazing and will bring a new level of excitement to Doha."

Race officials have now confirmed that the Unlimited race weekend will take place on a 3.2 km oval course in Doha Bay and will consist of qualifying on Thursday, November 19th, with drivers being allowed to select their racing lanes based upon their qualifying speeds. A minimum speed of 209 km/h is required to qualify for the event, although ABRA race officials admit that boats may reach speeds of 320 km/h on the straights.

The event consists of four sections of heat races, with five boats in a heat and four laps in each heat. Heats 1A, 1B and 2A and 2B will run on Friday, November 20th and heats 3A, 3B, 4A and 4B will take place on Saturday, November 21st. The Championship Final will also take place on Saturday afternoon.

Points are accumulated throughout all of the Heat races and the top six boats after all elimination heats will vie for the Oryx Cup World Championship - a winner-take-all final heat.

"In this form of racing, we use ‘flying starts' similar to yacht racing, where the boats mill around during a five- minute period, score-up at the one-minute gun and must be at the start/finish line when the clock reaches zero," said ABRA chairman Sam Cole. "A boat that passes the starting line before the clock reaches zero is penalised one lap.

"The start is the most critical part of a race, when five boats are side-by-side at racing speed and literally dive into the first turn. This is one of the most spectacular moments in all forms of motor sport and it will happen nine times during the Oryx Cup event in Doha."

Unlimited hydroplanes are generally 8.5 metres long and have a minimum weight of 3,062kg. They are powered by Lycoming T-55 turbine engines, which produce in the region of 3,000 hp and will be making their way from the United States to the Middle East at the end of September.

The race boats will leave Jacksonville in Florida on September 28th and are scheduled to arrive in Doha on October 28th. ABRA announced at the recent Thunder on the Ohio race that it had chosen Peters & May USA as the official transport agent. 

The Chicago-based company will be responsible for transporting all the boats, trucks, support vehicles and equipment on each international leg of the ABRA circuit. For the Doha race meeting, P&M will use a Hoegh Autoliners RORO vessel.