Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix announces changes

‘Hotelplanner’ added to event name for this year; CBS Sports to broadcast hour-long program featuring July 1 races, after the fact

The Legacy Builders boat zooms past Lido Beach during the 2015 Grand Prix. Photo from Suncoast Charities for Children

Organizers of the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix, which will mark its 34th year from June 23 to July 4, have announced three changes for the 2018 festival.

First, the event has a new name, a news release says: Hotelplanner Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival.

That change is a result of a race series sponsorship secured by Powerboat P1, the release adds. “ is the leading provider of online services in the global group marketplace,” reaching more than 4.2 million group event planners worldwide, the release says. was responsible for an estimated $7 billion in hotel booking requests last year, the release points out.

Second, at 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 22, CBS Sports will televise the powerboat races that will have taken place on July 1, the release continues.

Powerboat P1 has confirmed the one-hour program will air in all 50 states and is expected to reach 65 million households, the release notes. Additionally, the release continues, a one-hour program featuring the AquaX personal watercraft races, as well as a 30-minute show featuring the P1 SuperStock Class event, will be aired on Fox Sports Florida just after those races. The SuperStock Class comprises 28-foot, one-design, open-canopy vessels, the release explains.

Finally, Sarasota’s race contract remains with Powerboat P1 for the 2018 season, the release adds. However, because of collaboration between Powerboat P1 and Race World Offshore, the latter will be providing extra personnel to assist with technical inspections for Sarasota’s race on Sunday, July 1, the release notes.

“Powerboat racing is a tradition for our race site and the large powerboats are what race fans look forward to seeing each year,” festival Director Lucy Nicandri said in the release. “By facilitating this collaboration with Powerboat P1 and Race World Offshore, our race site hopes to enhance the sport of powerboat racing for spectators, whether they watch from the beach or on television,” she added. “This year race fans can expect to see a very strong fleet of powerboats competing for the checkered flag off Lido Beach and also the best in AquaX racing,” she said in the release.

Environmental protection remains a priority during the races, the release stresses. “Powerboat P1 and Suncoast Charities for Children will once again join forces on a ‘Share the Beach’ Campaign, promoting environmental conservation and marine mammal/sea bird protection,” the release explains. After the races, “Suncoast Charities for Children will also hold another Lido Beach Cleanup effort,” the release adds. Last year, that event drew more than 100 volunteers, the release says.

Suncoast Charities for Children produces the Grand Prix Festival and benefits from the proceeds, the release notes. Last year’s event generated $37 million in economic impact on Sarasota County and more than $100,000 for the charity, the release points out.

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