Here's the official announcement from Mike Webster and the Webster Racing team:
Since taking possession of Ed Cooper, Jr.'s back up hull in October, 2007, Webster Racing LLC has been working diligently to prepare the boat, so it is with regret that we announce our withdrawal from the 2008 race season.
Work to the boat, trailer, and truck will continue throughout the upcoming season in preparation for a full 2009 race schedule.
Updates to the equipment and new sponsors will continue to be posted on the web site, WebsterRacing.com.
The U-22 Team would like to thank Billy Schumacher Racing, Ed Cooper, Jr., and Ted Porter for their help, support, and guidance with the U-22 race team. Their continued support and help is what's making the U-22 possible.
Info from Kirk Duncan
Since leaving Ed Cooper's boat shop in Posey County, Mike and Steve Webster and their team have been working to transition the hull from a piston powered Allison power plant to a turbine T-55 L7.
Former owner Ed Cooper campaigned the hull as the U-3 from 1997 to 2002. Known by the nickname "Tubby" by most in racing circles, but by "The Fred Boat" by Cooper, a majority of the work has been focused on the engine department.
The Allison power plant that Cooper used is much heavier than the turbine the team will run in 2008. Mounts for the turbine to sit on and the locations for those mounts have been a big part of making the transition. The size and weight are different in the two power sources.
The team has been using half of the turbine to help configure where the mounts need to be located.
Since the Allison is much heavier than the turbine, the belly pan has also been replaced (the belly pan is where the engine sits in the engine department of the hydroplane). The pan was heavier and deeper than needed, so the team had to build a smaller and lighter pan to fit the turbine.
The team also has installed a gear box that will run with the turbine configuration. According to both Cooper and Webster, once the hull loses some of its weight by making the switch from the heavier Allison to the lighter turbine, the boat can compete on the American Boat Racing Association tour.
Despite running as a piston powered hull, the U-22's design is similar to the current hydros on the circuit and the weight loss will only help to improve its speed.
U-22 Unlimited Hydroplane will not be racing in 2008More>>
Mike Webster & the U-22 hull in Indiana (PHOTO - Kirk Duncan)
Mike Webster and the Webster Racing team had acquired Ed Cooper, Junior's second unlimited hull and is in the process of re-building the piston boat to run with a turbine engine for the 2008 ABRA season. The new hauler made the trip from Seattle to Indiana to pick up the hull. NEW VIDEO - October 16thMore >>