CHAMPCAR/CART: Legge, Newman, Kalkhoven complete Powerboat P1 test

Powerboat P1 test for Champ Car trio! Powerboat P1 has won over a distinguished cast of converts from American Champ Car racing - driver Katherine Legge, series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven and movie legend-cum-team chief Paul Newman. The ...

Powerboat P1 test for Champ Car trio!

Powerboat P1 has won over a distinguished cast of converts from American Champ Car racing - driver Katherine Legge, series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven and movie legend-cum-team chief Paul Newman. The three celebrities joined crews during a P1 pre-season test at Lido di Ostia, near Rome, to sample the thrill of 100mph on the open seas and left craving more!

Britain's Legge, who recorded the highest finish by a woman in Champ Cars on her debut earlier this month, steered reigning champion Hannes Bohinc's Wettpunkt boat and admitted, "it was very nerve-racking, but great!".

"I think all racers have a need for speed. It's an adrenalin thing. It wasn't easy, but I just did what I was told by Hannes and I had 100 per cent faith in him because he's the best at what he does. When we came back the last time the speed was unbelievable. You get much more of an impression of speed on water than you do on land.'

Austrian boat owner and throttleman Bohinc was similarly impressed with Legge, who was eighth in the Long Beach race. He said, "it took her about five minutes to understand it and that didn't surprise me because she is a racing driver and didn't do stupid things. She was very good."

Kalkhoven, who recruited 25-year-old Legge for the PKV Racing team, had a ride with Bohinc's great Italian rival, Mario Invernizzi, in the Kerakoll boat and was so overwhelmed he now wants to explore the prospects of putting on a double-header show with P1 supremo Nathan Knight.

"It's completely insane, which makes it brilliant," Kalkhoven enthused. "How those guys can race those things for an hour and a half I don't know. I'd really love to do a race to feel what it's like. The physical effort and mental concentration needed is just incredible. This really makes me think about the possibilities of combining P1 with Champ Cars. There are a number of places where we race that could do it. Long Beach, in California, springs to mind. To have racing in the harbour and on the streets there would be truly spectacular. I'd be very interested in talking about it. They have the same philosophy as us, taking racing to the people and making it entertainment. They've made a convert of me in one day."

Knight has taken Powerboat P1 from a six-boat side-show to an 18-boat extravaganza in three years and is keen to hold a meeting on the other side of the Atlantic. Kalkhoven's plan would no doubt have the backing of Newman, who still races at the age of 81 and jumped at the chance to ride with Invernizzi. Newman said, "that was great. I like anything to do with motors. I've never been on one of these before and really enjoyed it. I'd love to do it again".

The 2006 Powerboat P1 World Championship commences over the weekend of 13th/14th May when the beautiful setting of Grand Harbour Valletta becomes centre-stage for the Grand Prix of Malta.

-www.powerboatp1.com

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Newman , Katherine Legge