The Formula 3000 Outboard Performance Class (OPC) Powerboats are single seater catamarans built very much like Formula 1 and Formula 2 Catamarans that are raced in an average 1.5km anti-clockwise closed course circuit.
These boats are powered by a single 2.5 litre 2 stroke outboard engine with a 12” centre section with carburettored powerheads putting out as much as 280 HP and can accelerate from 0 – 100 kph in 4 seconds.
These single seater light weight catamarans (about 400 kilos) can attain top speeds in excess of 160kph with the ability to turn hard and fast in a single hard pin corner pulling in excess of 3 Gs.
These light-weight tunnel hulls are constructed from a material combination of fibreglass, carbon fibre, epoxy and wood.
Like most modern race crafts, F3000 boats are built with a mandatory safety capsule enclosing the driver who is also strapped in with a five point restraining harness (belts). In built floatation at strategic locations in the boat keeps it floating vertical in the event of a roll-over with the driver’s cockpit almost out of the water. Some boats carry their own emergency air supply to further enhance the safety aspect. Communication radios will soon also be made mandatory for all participating teams.
A Formula 3000 race class boat is very much like its front runner cousin the F1 powerboat; only that engine power output and gear case design differ. F1 and F2 engines also turn anti-clockwise so their propellers, because of the close ratio, are smaller in diameter and are left hand turn.
The difference between an F1 and F3000 class boat is that an F1 engine runs on an EFI system that now puts out as much as 350 HP. It also runs on a super slim gear case called an SSM (Super Speed Master) that makes it super slick and is able to attain speeds of up to 200 kph. Gear cases on the F3000 powerboats are the less expensive, much bigger and more durable sport masters or CLE’s but are much slower than an SSM gear case, which also means in a different set of propellers used. All these differences in equipment are in order to run F3000 at a lower cost make it more affordable and have a more level playing field.
Because of the higher speeds involved in F1 racing, safety requirements like a mandatory airbag inflation system, higher graded reinforced crash box cockpits, collapsible pickle forks and a higher minimum total weight requirement are mandated in F1.
F3000 boats are also built slightly different from an F1. The former are slightly shorter in length but employs a wider tunnel and more aggressive aerofoil design to create more lift at the lower speeds attained. As these boats top out at about 160kph with the available power in this class, this shorter and wider boat is able to fly much quicker. An F3000 powerboat running at maximum speed on the ragged edge is truly an amazing sight of agility, power and balance.
Races are run in a closed circuit in relatively calm waters and a final race distance is usually twenty laps covering a distance of 25 km.
The sleek design of these F3000 Powerboats makes them great attention grabbers regardless of whether they are running on water, on display in paddocks or while being towed on the roads.