U-37's new cowling design being tested at Madison - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

U-37's new cowling design being tested at Madison

U-37 New Cowling Photo:  James Simpson U-37 New Cowling Photo: James Simpson
U-17 Cowling Design from Our Gang Racing website U-17 Cowling Design from Our Gang Racing website

Is there a new look coming to the sport of unlimited hydroplane racing? 

When the U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing showed up in the pits in Madison, it was sporting a new look:  a horizontal oval attached to the top of its cowling.

Watch Video of U37 practice run with new cowling (Kirk Duncan)

The cowling is the piece that covers the engines on most The U-37's air scoop is a new shape and has been the subject of debate in the pits.  The idea is that it will keep water from coming up over the cockpit and into the intake, especially at low speeds.

Teams often use the qualifying runs before the races to try different configurations and set-ups.  Theoret ran the boat twice Friday - once with the new cowling and once without.  His top speeds were virtually similar.

There's also some similarity to the mock-up Nate Brown did on the boat he's building.  The U-37 cowling design looks similar to the artwork on the U-17 website.  Brown has hinted that the artwork was a teaser on what may be ahead for their unlimited hydroplane.  "It will be different than anything else you've seen," Brown said about a month ago.

The new cowling may be especially helpful for the boats when they hit the San Diego race course.  The saltwater can cause problems with water in the intake and many teams use a different cowling mount there.

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