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Grand Prix

Sarasota Set To Welcome Back Summer Festival and Grand Prix Event

| Lucy Nicandri |

The countdown is underway to the 36th annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix, which is part of the newly renamed Suncoast Summer Fest. The weekend of June 25-27 will see a double bill of powerboat and personal watercraft racing along Lido Beach on the Florida Gulf Coast. In addition to the marine motorsport action, there will be a host of other Suncoast Summer Fest events between June 24-July 4, organized by Suncoast Charities for Children. 

With Suncoast Charities for Children transitioning from being the primary organizer of the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix, to organizing Suncoast Summer Fest, Powerboat P1 will continue its role as race promoter. This will include all aspects of race management, as well as the production and distribution of a one-hour international television show on CBS Sports Network and Bally Sports Regional Networks in the United States. The one-hour broadcast will also be shown internationally on leading sports channels. Air times for the Sarasota coverage will be announced later this month, however, on June 19 & 20 race fans can watch the first race of the series held in Cocoa Beach, FL.  The races will also be live streamed on and P1 Offshore’s Facebook page.  “Our aim will be to deliver outstanding race action and entertainment,” added Powerboat P1 CEO Azam Rangoonwala. “We are very much aware that sports tourism plays a major role in the local economy.  In addition to attracting visitors to the city,  we will help to raise the profile of the Sarasota region through television coverage on both.”  

Rangoonwala also stated, “We have had a close relationship with Suncoast Charities since 2016 and our two-days of high-speed, on-water action will continue to be an integral part of the festival. We are working closely with Visit Sarasota County, our Premier Sponsor, to ensure that the Grand Prix is yet again a world class sporting and entertainment event. The City of Sarasota also remains as a Major Sponsor of the race.  It’s important to highlight that Suncoast Charities for Children, which helps children, teens, and adults with special needs, has been the driving force behind the race and festival since 1986.”     

Grand Prix

Returning after last year’s enforced break,  but with travel restrictions still in place for most overseas competitors, the Grand Prix is expected to attract a significant fleet of powerboats and personal watercraft racers. “Sarasota is one of the longest-running powerboat racing events in the United States and established as a leading and hugely popular venue for offshore racing,” commented P1 USA Championship Manager Michelle Petro. “After the tough conditions encountered in Cocoa Beach last month, race teams and personal watercraft riders will be hoping for less challenging seas on the 8-mile long race course.”

Virginia Haley, President of Visit Sarasota County is delighted at the return of the event: “Now in its 36th year, it is an annual tradition enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. With last year’s festival being cancelled because of the pandemic, we are looking forward to welcoming back the excitement and festivities for all to enjoy.”

On race day, Powerboat P1 will be creating a ‘Fan Zone’ at Lido Beach offering merchandise, food and drinks together with a VIP hospitality tent.  Powerboat P1 is also actively involved with environmental initiatives that will include joining forces with Audubon Florida’s coastal bird stewardship program to highlight the colony of protected Black Skimmers that nest on Lido Key. 

CMR Construction and Roofing, is the series partner of the six-race APBA Offshore National Championship Series, and will be hosting a private event for race teams.  This event will include a charity auction in support of “I am a Freedom Fighter” which is a national organization that educates and trains communities on the scope of the human trafficking crisis.   Remaining races in the series include: Great Lakes Grand Prix (Michigan City, IN – August 5-8), St. Pete Powerboat Grand Prix (St. Petersburg, FL – Sept. 3-5), Roar Offshore (Fort Myers Beach, FL – Oct. 7-9), and Key West World Championship (Key West, FL – Nov. 7-14).

For Race Information and VIP Race Day Viewing Tickets Visit:  HERE        

For Suncoast Summer Fest info visit: HERE

Photo Credits

~  CMR boat in race action in Cocoa Beach: Todd Taylor/Speedboat Magazine
~  Brian Baldwin photo: website

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