(Lake Hamilton, Fla.) - HYDRO-PROP, Inc. announced today that Mike Noonan and Rick Sandstrom will be Co-Directors of Competition for both the Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series Presented by Laughlin and the Laughlin Formula One P.R.O.P. Tour ...
(Lake Hamilton, Fla.) - HYDRO-PROP, Inc. announced today that Mike Noonan and Rick Sandstrom will be Co-Directors of Competition for both the Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series Presented by Laughlin and the Laughlin Formula One P.R.O.P. Tour Presented by Bud Light. Hydro-Prop has developed a number of new rules for the Hydros to improve and encourage close competition between teams.
Mike Noonan, Lexington, KY, and Rick Sandstrom, Seattle, WA, have previously served as Chief Referees for Hydros as well as being Directors of Competition for the Formula One P.R.O.P. Tour. Noonan and Sandstrom will be on-site at all Hydros and Formula One races this season. They will be responsible for the strict enforcement of all rules and will levy penalties and/or fines as necessary.
"Mike and Rick have the authority and will make decisions based upon the guidelines listed in the rule book," said Gary Garbrecht President of HYDRO-PROP. "The rule book states that all participants must adhere to the spirit and intent of these rules and they will do everything in their power to ensure that this philosophy is enforced."
HYDRO-PROP has established new rules for the Hydros, including starting procedures, minimum weight, a standardized fuel system and using stock turbine engine parts for the upcoming race season.
In order to increase competition among all Hydros drivers, new starting procedure rules have been developed. Hydros drivers will no longer be allowed to jockey for starting lane positions. Lanes will now be pre-determined based upon qualifying order and prior heat results.
"This new system will be exciting for both the fans and the drivers and should produce an increase in competition and give the fans deck to deck high-speed racing," said Noonan. "The new rule deters boats from camping out in Lane 1 hoping to get an advantage over the rest of the field. In addition, the dominant boats will be forced to start from the outside lanes during some heats which should produce different winners."
A new minimum weight has also been established for Hydros. All turbine powered boats must now weigh 6,750 pounds including the driver and his equipment as opposed to last year's minimum weight of 6,300 pounds. This change is intended to establish a fair weight for all teams regardless of funding or equipment. In the past, some teams had a distinct advantage because they were able to build lighter boats, which were quicker through the turns and accelerated faster.
"The new minimum weight should allow for all the boats to be within the same weight to horsepower ratio," said Mark Weber, Hydroplane Driver for USA Racing Partners. "Last year, the U-10 had some weight issues that obviously slowed us down at times. Getting the weight to horsepower ratio closer between all boats allows for more parity. The desired effect is to have a product that is more competitive and I support any decisions that will produce these results."
Standardized Fuel System:
To curb fuel system violations, HYDRO-PROP has mandated that all teams will be required to install a standardized fuel system. Thus, every team will have the exact same fuel system in each boat. This will allow for easier inspections and should enable officials to determine any fuel violations in a more efficient manner.
Stock Turbine Engine Parts:
HYDRO-PROP identified a number of turbine engine parts that can no longer be customized, modified or manufactured. If a stock part is available, as determined by HYDRO-PROP, it must be used in an unaltered form.
"We have attempted to further level the playing field by reducing the costs of turbine engines for the teams," said Sandstrom. "While eliminating the fabrication of several engine parts, we have reduced engine costs for the teams. Additionally, teams will no longer be able to gain a performance advantage because of their ability to design, test and manufacture customized parts."