Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix activities set for July 1-3, marking 37th year

Powerboat P1 to stage multiple racing classes, along with events for fans

Competitors in a 2021 Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix P1 event race offshore of Lido Key in late June. The annual boat races typically draw thousands of visitors to the county. Image from the 2021 Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix website

Powerboat P1, the London-based, international marine motorsport promoter, has announced that the historic Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix will return on the weekend of July 1-3. “As one of Sarasota’s longest running events, the grand prix generates millions of dollars in economic impact for the community annually,” a news release points out. More than 60 race teams are expected to participate this year, coming from countries around the world, including Australia, Italy, Sweden, New Zealand, the Cayman Islands and Canada, the release adds.

The event, presented by Visit Sarasota County, will kick off on Friday, July 1, “with the traditional downtown block party,” which will give fans the opportunity to meet the teams and see the boats up-close on Gulfstream Avenue; it will be held from 6 to 10 p.m., the release points out. Attendees will be able to enjoy live music and drinks and interact with the drivers in front of the racing boats, the release adds.

Racing will begin at Lido Beach on Saturday, July 2, with P1 AquaX personal watercraft competing at 8 a.m., followed by P1 Offshore powerboat testing from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. P1 AquaX will stage its second race before the UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship teams compete for pole position from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Sunday will feature a full day of racing, “with P1 AquaX, P1 Offshore and the high-speed Class 1 boats all in action,” the release continues.

Additionally, a new P1 Village fan zone in the Lido Beach parking lot on Sunday will feature food trucks, a beer garden, merchandise, numerous activities and live music, the release says. Lido Beach also will be the site of P1’s VIP hospitality suite, offering a catered lunch, open bar, lounge seating and televisions to enhance the race viewing experience, the release adds.

The P1 Offshore Sarasota Grand Prix will be televised globally, as well as in the U.S., on CBS Sports Network and Bally Sports Regional Networks, “showcasing the white sugary sands of Sarasota’s beaches and the vibrant downtown city life,” the release points out.

This is a scene from the 35th Annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival. Image from the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Facebook page

“Sarasota is our biggest race of the year, and we’re thrilled to be returning with Visit Sarasota County as our presenting partner,” said Azam Rangoonwala, CEO of Powerboat P1, in the release. “Sarasota is an idyllic venue with a rich, storied history of powerboat racing. We have a powerful platform through our international television broadcasting to showcase this beautiful city to the world, and we want to encourage everyone, local or tourists, to enjoy all that there is to experience here,” Rangoonwala added in the release.

“For decades, the races have been a unique summer event that appeals to both locals and visitors,” said Virginia J. Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County, in the release. “We recognize and thank the Powerboat P1 team for the thorough planning alongside multiple Sarasota entities, ranging from environmental groups to law enforcement, to make this event safe and enjoyable for all,” she added in the release.

“As a Sarasota native, I recognize the historic value this event brings to the community,” said Cole McGowan, Powerboat P1’s director of communications, in the release. “We value the heritage and prestige of this event and aim to add new experiences for fans. This is going to be a standout year for powerboat racing in Sarasota with one of the largest fleets of race boats in recent years,” McGowan continued. “I’m excited for fellow locals to experience everything that the Grand Prix weekend has to offer.”